Why should you participate in the Summer Reading Challenge?

It’s fun! You get to be a mad scientist! We challenge kids and teens to take the Summer Reading Challenge to unlock levels and reveal prizes!

Parents and caregivers, there are studies that back up the importance of reading in the summer for your child’s brain development and success in school. The Summer Reading Challenge isn’t a tutoring program. Depending on the age of your child, this is a self-directed program or one that you and your child work on together. Library staff at all 8 branches, one right in your neighborhood, are here to celebrate and support the fun of reading.

“Students who participated in the public library summer reading program scored higher on reading achievement tests at the beginning of the next school year than those students who did not participate and they gained in other ways as well” proves the Dominican University Study: Public Library Summer Reading Programs Close the Reading Gap.

Your child’s teacher will say that if your child doesn’t read much during the summer his reading level he obtained at the end of the school year will drop.

Reading for fun and regular trips to the library to get access to a variety of print materials improves “children’s reading performance… and produces improved attitudes toward reading and learning among children.”

Studies show that on average, by the time they are 3 years old, children in professional families have heard about 30 million more words than children from lower-income households. This early disadvantage affects IQ and school achievement. Words from a TV, computer, or radio don’t count when it comes to building a child’s vocabulary, and in fact too much screen time may hurt, researchers say.

What can you do to improve the number of words your child hears?  Go to the library!!!   You are the most important person in your child’s life and his first teacher.  The Public Library Association (PLA) and Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) after studying research  have reported that the most important tasks you can do for your child’s early literacy development, to prepare your child to get school ready, and continue to do well in school is: Reading, Talking, Writing, Playing, and Singing at an age appropriate level.  These elements have been considered while developing the content for all our youth programming, including the Summer Reading Challenge.  These elements are the building blocks of the Every Child Ready to Read @ Library methods used in our pre-reading classes.   These methods are used when planning all children’s programs.  Check out our “Let’s Play!” program .  Take out some picture books are based on children’s songs and the book is intended to be sung not read.  Talking can be done about any of your activities during the day.  Take turns talking. When adult and child speak back and forth, this is incredibly important for language development.   Reading encourages talking and ask questions of your child about what you are reading.  Listen while they tell you what they have gotten out of the book and any retellings or “reading” of the story.

Why is access for the Summer Reading Challenge only online? This is to give youth another opportunity to become familiar with using the computer and develop digital literacy. They create an account and record the time they spend reading and the titles of the books. If you don’t have a computer at home, use our computers. In 1995 the Commerce Department published its first look at the “digital divide,” finding stark racial, economic and geographic gaps between those who could get online and those who could not. Now many lower income families have access to the internet. However one Pew study suggests, you can’t fill out a job application through a cell phone or update your resumé on a game console (another way that many lower income families report they access the Internet). The divide has shifted from an access issue to a kind of access divide. With jobs, politics and even health care moving online, millions are at risk of being left behind.

Coming to the library is great prevention for not letting your children and the children of Grand Rapids get behind!

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One Response to “Why should you participate in the Summer Reading Challenge?”

  1. May 16, 2014 at 8:29 am #

    Great post. You make a great argument for the Summer Reading Challenge. I think adults will read this and understand the importance of encouraging their children to read during the summer.

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