Summer is around the corner. For many, that means children are out of school. The Tulare County Library invites you to get out of the heat and enjoy the cool air at one of our local Tulare County Library branches. While there, be sure to join our annual Summer Reading Program.

The Summer Reading Program has long been part of libraries. According to the American Library Association (ALA), the earliest record of this program is in the 1890s. The purpose was to keep academics at the forefront by encouraging schoolchildren to read during summer when school was out.

Today, this purpose has a name: “summer slide.” The term summer slide describes when children can lose two months of learning over the summer and face difficulties catching up when school starts again. By participating in a Summer Reading Program, children can prevent summer slide. A Dominican University study proved that children who participated in a summer reading program scored higher on reading tests and demonstrated growth in other areas, too.

While preventing summer slide is important, ALA points to other reasons why having children participate in the Summer Reading Program is beneficial. Summer reading activities engage reluctant readers or even slow readers to visit the library and eventually read. Examples of activities include slime making, magic shows and fun animals.

These programs are fun for any level of reader, yet they also provide growth opportunities. Once engaged in reading, sparking an interest in reading and seeing the examples of what their parents or even their friends read, children may be more inclined to read. Reading comes over a lifetime with each individual child, and summer reading s just another way we can add to their journey and encourage the habit of lifelong learning. 

Although the children’s Summer Reading Program gets the most participation, we should not forget about teens and adults. Select branches offer teen and adult summer reading programs. While prizes vary by branch, teens receive incentives such as gift cards, DVDs, books and some even raffle an Amazon Fire. Adults can join in the fun by participating in fun programs, winning gift cards, getting Book Bucks redeemable for a free book or winning an Amazon Fire.

Check next month’s Direct Magazine for specific event details for the 2019 Summer Reading Program.