Nothing keeps the mind moving like a few good books, says the Lloydminster Public Library.
The Summer Reading Program, offered by the library throughout July and August for kids 12 and under, helps youth stay mentally sharp over the summer while they’re out of school.
“Studies have shown that children who keep up with their reading, they don’t have to play catchup in September when school starts again,” said Michele Duczek, reference librarian at Lloydminster Public Library. “It’s like any other skill - if you don’t use it, you lose it.”
The Summer Reading Program consists of three parts: in the first, the reading club, participants record each book they read in a logbook supplied by the library.
Once they fill a whole page and complete the activity listed at the bottom it, which could be anything from reading under the sheets to reading in a certain type of voice, the library rewards them with stickers.
In the second component, the kids meet Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m., where they participate in small activities like crafts and games.
The third part takes place every Wednesday afternoon in what the library calls “Rainy Day Wednesdays.” The library invites anyone from the public to stop by for some board games as it enacts the rainy day tradition.
While the Summer Reading Program helps keep children’s minds sharp over the summer, it also strives to engage young readers by piquing their interests and making reading a hobby, rather than a task.
“When people are looking for something to read, we ask them not what they like to read, but what they’re interested in,” Duczek said. “If you can combine someone who’s really into gymnastics and so they think about gymnastics, they do gymnastics - hand them a book about gymnastics - they’re combining one interest with another. It makes it more likely they’re going to read about it.”
Duczek says that often, children’s reading interests are influenced by what they’ve read in school. Instead, youth should be encouraged to explore their other interests and curiosities through books.
Furthermore, Duczek says that the presence of adult readers around a kid can make him or her much more likely to pick up reading in the long term.
“One of the most important things that grownups can do is model reading behaviour,” she said. “If you grew up in a household where your parents read, chances are you’re going to read. Read to your kids, and when they learn how to read, let them read to you because everyone likes to be read to.”