Summer reading, unlimited by school assignments, book reports and homework, presents a wide-open landscape to imagine, to explore and to dream big. That’s the focus of this summer’s reading program at the Orcas Island Public Library, which encourages the kids: Dream Big!
Summer Reading Club usually draws nearly 150 kids; a significant number are summer visitors, although most members reside on Orcas year-round.
Kids keep a reading log where they keep track of the books they read – or are read to them — during the summer. They earn “Library Dollars” to “purchase” new paperback books from the Summer Reading program bookshelf “store” at the entrance to the library.
To earn a Library Dollar, a child first reads a picture book or a short-length “chapter books.” If the book is longer or more advanced, kids get a “Library Dollar” for every 100 pages they read.
The Summer Reading store houses a variety of books from the classic Caddie Woodlawn to the kinds of books “reluctant” readers will like, such as the Wimpy Kid books and new graphic novels such as the Bone series. Children’s Librarian Nita Couchman says, though the books may not be great literature, they still have value in that the kids are practicing reading and language skills – and experiencing the joy of reading.
Nita says, “For kids who aren’t readers yet, we’ve created a program that encourages parents to read to them, to practice the joys of reading with your child that will continue.” She adds, “The world they’re growing up in is so fast-paced, looking at screens, playing with computer tablets. They are used to more visual orientation. To read a prose book some hundred pages long takes some focus.” Meanwhile the more accessible books develop their reading range.
Another way to address the attention lapses caused by the visual media is for parents to read more difficult books to beginning readers. “Kids who are being read to experience the double pleasure of the reading experience and their parent’s attention,” says Nita. “We can’t do enough to encourage parents to read with their kids.”
Kids who don’t read in the summer gap lose between two to three months’ learning, studies have consistently shown. “That’s significant – like two steps forward and one step back,” says Nita.
“During the school year, much of the reading is required for coursework, summer is a time to have fun, read the things you’re interested in, explore and read for pleasure and fun.
“If you don’t learn to enjoy reading, it’s that much harder for the reading you have to do.”
So join the Summer Reading Club because it’s fun – for kids who already love to read, for kids who are just learning to read, and for parents who treasure that special time when they are reading to their kids.
In addition to the Summer Book Club, the Orcas Library offers other special events during the summer. All programs are free and open to all kids:
- On Tuesdays from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. the Read-Aloud Chapter book Hour takes place.
- Storytime at the Market happens at the Saturday Farmer’s Market on the Village Green at 11:30 a.m.
- The Library will sponsor the Kids’ Craft Booths at the Library Fair on Aug. 11 from 10 a.m. to noon. Kids sell their home-made crafts (with a price limit of $5)
- On July 11 and August 8 Pajama storytimes celebrate bedtime and reading
- On Thursdays, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. crafts, music and storytimes focus on Jack Prelutsky’s verse and the music of Saint-Saens “Carnival of the Animals “ is featured.
(Prelutsky’s appearance at the Aug. 19 “Carnival of the Animals” performance with the Miró Quartet on the Stage at the Village Green is organized by the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival in partnership with the Miró Quartet, the OILD and six additional community partners with support from the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund.)
Register at the Orcas Island Library at 500 Rose Street in downtown Eastsound or go to www.orcaslibrary.org