Carefree summer days are a much-anticipated time for many students, but this is also the time of year when children lose as much as three months of learning.
A phenomenon known as summer slide, a term that emerged after studies showed students experience setbacks in reading skills over school break, is one reason public library summer reading programs play an essential role in building strong readers.
During the spring, CSEA members working as librarians and support staff plan a summer’s worth of themed activities that appeal to kids’ needs for safe summer fun while keeping reading skills sharp.
When the hot weather hits, CSEA member Scott Griffith is at his busiest. The children’s librarian has a lineup of activities planned to keep kids engaged and ensure they have books in their hands.
“We have something going on here every day,” said Griffith, who is in his 14th year working at the library. “This year’s theme is ‘On Your Mark, Get Set, Read.’ We’ll have an ice cream social, a visiting zoo and plenty of other activities. We get our regulars from the neighborhood, from daycares and summer programs. It’s a great program.”
Griffith and co-workers take their summer reading program beyond the library walls, traveling twice per week to Mount Vernon’s Hartley Park to host an outdoor program.
Meanwhile, the library in the southern Westchester County city serves as an air conditioned oasis for youngsters and their families, putting books in the hands of students who might otherwise lack access to quality reading materials.
— Jessica Ladlee