Summer Reading Programs & Your Child - Why is all this fun so important?!

Three Boys Reading
Acrobatic dogs – Puppets – Super Magic – Scavenger Hunts – Legos – Ice Cream Parties – Art – Music – Bugs & Lizards – Kindness to Animals & more…

Our branches provide myriad opportunities to excite, stimulate and encourage children, from the youngest to teens, to enjoy and explore the pleasures of literacy through science, art, engineering, music, drama, hands-on inquiry and stories and reading all summer long!

But why all the fuss about summer reading? Why is summer reading important?

The importance of summer reading cannot be underestimated! Research shows that children who do not read during summer vacation months may lose, on average, two months of school gains, known as the “summer slide”. And between third and fifth grade, children’s reading vocabulary will increase exponentially.

Let us look at some of the research. “No matter what instructional methods we employ, students must spend substantial time applying the reading skills and strategies we teach before they develop reading proficiency. To become good readers, students must read and read and read.”

“The challenge for many teachers lies in motivating and inspiring students to pick up a book in the first place.”Note 1

“Teachers observed that students who participated in the public library summer reading program returned to school ready to learn, improved their reading achievement and skills, increased their enjoyment of reading, were more motivated to read, were more confident in participating in classroom reading activities, read beyond what was required in their free time, and perceived reading to be important.”Note 2

By providing many entries into literacy, through recommending books and providing hands-on exploration activities in science, music and the arts, summer reading programs motivate children, promote lifelong reading skills, and help children succeed in school.
Panel of Short Fiction

Billy Sure, Kid Entrepreneur

The Hunt for the Curious Cheese

Greetings from Somewhere: The Mystery Across the Secret Bridge

Dragon Masters: Secret of the Water Dragon

The Critter Club: Liz and the Sand Castle Contest

Here's Hank: Fake Snakes and Weird Wizards

Acquiring reading fluency can be challenging. Here is how you can help:
Family reading together
  • Research has shown that having books in the home and seeing parents reading positively influences children to value books and reading.
  • Borrow books! Our Beginning-to-Read books are in a special section on shelves marked Easy Reader (ER in the catalog). We also have a large collection of shorter fiction books shelved with our juvenile fiction that are sure to whet any young reader’s appetite for reading a great story!
  • Do not be concerned if your child initially wants to stick with just one series. It is great that s/he has found something they are very interested in reading, and there is no better way to develop reading fluency than to read through a whole series. The more reading practice the better!
  • Read aloud to your child, even once they have begun to read on their own. Why? Listening to you read and following along with their eyes, your child picks up reading clues, memorizes words, learns syntax, and develops their sense of how story narrative works.
Siblings reading together on couch
  • For newly emergent readers in Kindergarten through first grade, try paired reading - you read one page, your child reads the next page. This both supports and models expressive reading for a new reader and it is fun to share a story together.
  • Have an older child read aloud to a younger sibling.
  • Listen to your child read aloud to you for 10 minutes a day. They will be proud to share with you their new skill!
There are also a variety of formats to expose children to literature and enjoying great stories -
Listening to Books on CDs that the whole family can enjoy makes any long car trip breeze along! Or your child can borrow a Playaway which is a pre-recorded book on a small device, about the size of an iPod, into which they can plug their own earbuds. There are also Playaway Views available to borrow, which are devices on which a child can watch and listen to stories read aloud.
Books on CD, Playaways, etc.

Book Stack
Summertime is a great time to borrow books and other materials. We have a generous lending policy & managing your borrowing can be done easily online from home!

  • If another MCL branch has the book need, just place a hold on it with your library card! (Your PIN will be the last four digits of your phone number.) Be sure to select at which branch you would like to pick it up. Our trusty MCL van travels to all of our branches during the week; the item will be picked up for you, delivered to the branch of your choice, and you will be notified in just a few days that your book is in and ready for pick-up!
  • Likewise, you can check and manage what you have borrowed/have on hold online. You will receive an email when your books are coming due. Click on the link and log into My Account to view books checked out. You may check the box alongside the title(s) you are still reading and click Renew! And that is all you need to do! Books, Books on CD, and Playaways circulate for 3 weeks. Playaway Views and DVDs circulate for 1 week. All items may be renewed twice, unless someone else needs the item and has put a hold on it.
It is as easy as 1-2-3! Need the next book in a favorite series? Want to read several books selected from a school summer reading list? Heard about a great book recommended by a friend? Visit our online catalog – we may own it or it may be available soon. Place the book on hold! If it is a very popular title, the queue goes very quickly and you will receive a call or an email from the library that your book is in and ready for pick-up!

So help your child discover a love of books and reading this summer. We are here to help in any way we can to support your efforts and look forward to working with children, teens, parents, grandparents, educators, and other significant adults in their lives to share good books and literacy adventures at your library.

Further reading

What Can Families Do to Keep Children Reading During the Summer?

Getting Your Child to Love Reading

Children Who Can Read, But Don't...

Teenagers and Reading


Note 1 Donalyn, M. (2010). Reading to Learn: Becoming a classroom of readers. Educational Leadership, 67 (6), 30-35. Retrieved June 15, 2015 (Back)

Note 2 Roman, S., Carran, D., Fiore, C. (2010). The Dominican Study: Public Library Summer Reading Programs Close the Reading Gap. River Forest, IL: Dominican University Graduate School of Library and Information Science. (Back)

-Jackie Spritzer, Youth Services, Lawrence


Popular posts from this blog

Ocean-in-a-Bottle Craft for Kids

Walt Disney: Through the Eyes of an Adult

Legal Marijuana in NJ, Coming Soon to a Dispensary Near You