Why summer reading programs?

Summer Reading Programs at the library are a time-honored tradition. Libraries across the United States have been hosting Summer Reading Programs since 1898. They are a cornerstone of library services, with 95% of public libraries offering Summer Reading Programs, and they are quite a bit of fun for staff and children alike, with prizes, programs, special guests, and extra activities.

But why do we spend so much time and energy on these programs? Summer Reading Programs involve year-round planning for library staff. The reason for the expense of time, effort, and money is that Summer Reading Programs provide an incredible resource for the children of our community over the summer months.

One of the main reasons for Summer Reading Programs is to show kids the importance of reading and to help them develop into lifelong readers. Through sharing in reading with parents, peers, teachers, and others, children learn that reading is fun and develop a passion for it to last their entire life. Reading levels at an early age have been shown to be an indicator for future success. Summer Reading Programs help the children in our community develop the love for reading that will give them a strong foundation for their future.

Another important aspect of the Summer Reading Program is keeping kids off the “summer slide”. Studies have shown that without access to learning options, students experience a significant achievement loss in the summer. According to the National Summer Learning Association, students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer. The out-of-school educational opportunities provided by Summer Reading Programs help provide a solution to stop the learning loss. Children are exposed to not just reading, but science, math, the arts and more through our programs, activities, and guest speakers. These educational interactions are vital to stopping the learning loss that occurs during the summer months.

Multiple studies have also reinforced the fact that children who attend Summer Reading Programs read better, more often, and have a better attitude towards reading than children who don’t. Reading is such an incredibly important foundation to insure success, and Summer Reading Programs help insure all children become great readers. We invite you to bring the children in your life to the library this summer.

But why should kids have all the fun? Part of our mission is to encourage lifelong learning for all ages, which is why in recent years libraries have expanded programs to include teens and adults. It is just as important for teens and adults to not only model good behavior for kids, but to also expand their own knowledge through reading for information and pleasure. Offering Summer Reading Programs for all ages allows us to fulfill a vital part of our mission and provide fun and educational opportunities for the whole family. We have many exciting and fun events and programs planned for all ages this summer and we invite everyone to participate, starting June 1st.