Friday, June 20, 2014
By TIM CLEVELAND
With the school year ending, students will be putting school behind them and focusing on fun summer activities. The Summer Reading Program was started in an effort to keep children’s minds focused for the following school year.
On May 30, Poland library children’s librarian Annette Ahrens put on an assembly at Union Elementary to educate the students in grades kindergarten through four about the Summer Reading Program.
“We go to all the schools [in Poland and Springfield] every spring to talk about summer reading,” Ahrens said. “We want to get the kids excited, we want to let them know about the program so we start calling in the spring and setting up the assemblies.”
The program runs from June 1 until Aug. 16. To participate in the Summer Reading Program, students can register either at their local Mahoning County public library or go to libraryvisit.org.
Students don’t have to just read books at the library. They can read any book, magazine or book on CD.
“We don’t care what they read, as long as they’re reading,” Ahrens said.
Children will receive a coupon for a free ice cream cone from Dairy Queen and a Mahoning Valley Scrappers game voucher just for signing up. Children keep track of how many hours they read and once they read for four hours, they will receive a free paperback book. At eight hours, they will receive a beach ball (ages birth to 8) or a light-up yoyo (ages 9-11). Children ages 3 and older will also receive one free admission ticket to the Oh Wow! Science Center. Once a child has read for 12 hours, they will earn a chance to win a $25 gift card to Toys ‘R Us (birth to age 8) or an iPod shuffle (ages 9-11).
At 30 hours, they will earn a special invitation to meet Jennifer Holm, author of the “Babymouse” and “Squish” books, when she visits Aug. 1. She will be at the Austintown library on that date at 11:30 a.m. and the Boardman library at 3 p.m. Anyone who reads 30 hours by July 26 will also be invited to have breakfast with Holm.
Ahrens said the Summer Reading Program has been proven to help students in their school studies.
“It’s actually been proven with studies that kids lose some of the things that they have learned over the summer between school years,” she said. “It’s such a long stretch between the times that they’re in school that the libraries have put these programs together to keep the kids reading so that they don’t lose their listening skills, their reading skills, their comprehension skills. We want them to maintain them so that they’re ready to go back to school in September.”