Libraries throughout Utah are preparing summer reading programs to help students stay connected. Depending on where you live, programs often include more than just reading books. Some programs may also incorporate technology and the use of art to educate and entertain.
Melinda Barlow, a librarian at the Uintah County Library in Vernal, wants to see the children in her community reading throughout the summer.
“I do tours here at the library," Barlow said. "I just had some second graders come into the library and I said ‘Aare you excited for school to end?’ They said ‘Oh, yes.” I said, 'So you’re going to read all summer aren’t you?’ You know how kids are, they kind of look at you like ‘No, we’re kind of through with school,’ and I said ‘If you read all summer, you go into third grade smarter. If you don’t read all summer, you go into third grade dumber.’ Second graders really get a kick out of that.”
Barlow said reading in the summer can help children stay academically motivated between school years.
“When children read every day, they retain what they’ve learned at school," she said. "Whether they’re reading about what they learned, they’re brains just stay palatable. They are able to retain the things that they’ve learned and they just enter back in at a better level or above what they ended in the fall.”
A program in Utah County is incorporating technology and the use of art. Merilee Clark with the Orem Library says this year’s program is focusing on the acronym S.T.E.A.M. - which stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math. In July, an activity called “build-a-book workshop” will have illustrators and authors share their story-telling processes, and kids will have a chance to create a book of their own.
“We need that aspect of the humanities - of art and literature," Clark said. "Those are the things that make technology worth pursuing. Our brains work well when we’re pursuing science and art and the humanities.”
Clark also wants to see more summer reading in her community.
“ If they’re consistently reading over the summer, that’s going to do just a huge advantage to them as far as bridging that summer gap and their academic progress," Clark said. "Kids who say they don’t like reading just haven’t found the right books yet.”
Links to summer reading programs:
Orem Library - http://www.oremlibrary.org/ongoing-programs/
Uintah County Library - https://uintahlibrary.org/2017/05/summer-reading-program-preview/
Weber County Library - http://www.weberpl.lib.ut.us/childrens-summer-reading
Washington County Library - http://library.washco.utah.gov/st-george/childrens-summer-reading/
San Juan Library - http://www.cityofsanjuantexas.com/cosj2/blog/summer-reading-program/
Salt Lake Library - http://summer.slcolibrary.org/index.html