School’s out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean students should put down the books.
The Richmond Hill Public Library is hosting its annual Summer Reading Program for children ages 2 through high school. This year’s science-focused theme for the reading program is “Fizz Boom Read.”
Students will sign up to fill out a log documenting how many books they’ve read or how many hours they’ve spent reading, depending on their age. Younger children must read at least 10 beginner books to complete the program, while older children must spend at least 10 hours reading.
Registration began on May 23, and students can sign up for the program at any time.
“If they complete their required number of titles or hours, they bring in their logs on a prize booth date and time,” Library Manager Kate Barker said. “They will be issued a certificate and they can choose a prize. Then, we hope they will continue to read.”
Prize booth days will take place between 3-4 p.m. on various Wednesdays during the summer, including, June 4, 11 and 18, and July 9, 16, 23 and 25.
In previous years, prizes included small trinkets. But this year, the nonprofit group Friends of the Library donated money to purchase paperback books as prizes. Local merchants are also donating coupons to give to the summer readers.
“It’s been proven that children who continue reading in the summer retain more of what they’ve learned during the year,” Barker said. “If they don’t continue reading during the summer, they tend to slip a little bit. We want them to retain that progress that they’ve made for the year whether they are in public or private school or are homeschooled.”
Alongside the reading program, the library is also offering summer performances at Richmond Hill United Methodist Church on Ford Avenue. The performances take place at 2 p.m. June 4, 11 and 18, and July 9, 16 and 23.
“We usually have anywhere from 80-120 children at each performance,” Barker said. “Our conference room is not large enough to hold everyone who wants to come, so we are very grateful to those at the church for being a partner with us and giving us that space for the performances.”
The performances will include a juggler, storyteller, magicians and a wildlife program with animals, among others.
“We hope the children will go to the performance and then be able to come over here to the library and get their certificate and prizes,” Barker said.
Barker said she hopes this program will give children a chance to enjoy and get excited about reading.
“One way to get children excited about reading is to bring them to the library to check books out,” she Barker said. “However, they do not have to read library books. But letting them choose something they want to read rather than required reading from school makes it more fun.”
Barker hopes this program can bring a family together and give them quality time while reading. She suggests adults read with the children.
“Reading with them doesn’t have to stop just because they can read on their own,” Barker explained. “From my personal experience as a child, my mother read to me and took an interest in my reading. She listened to me read, which helped me develop a love for reading. My mother would have me read to her while she was cooking supper. It helped me learn to read out loud. It made me feel like it was important to her that I knew how to read.”
Richmond Hill resident Jackie Bailey understands the importance instilling a love for reading in her grandchildren. The Huff children, including Cade, 9, Kennady, 8, and Davis, 5, are all looking forward to going to the library’s summer performances and completing their logbooks.
“I make sure they get their logbook and we review their logs together,” Bailey said. “I greatly enjoy watching them read and improving their reading skills. They are just so cute when they find something they are interested in and they find a book about it at the library. I get just as much enjoyment out of this program as they do.”
Bailey has been taking her grandchildren to the library for the past five years. She said she started when her oldest grandson Cade was in a stroller.
“I was taking a little one in a stroller, but now he walks right in the door and sits himself down at one of the library computers and just gets to work,” Bailey said with a laugh. “It’s something I’ve done with him since the beginning.”
Bailey said the summer reading program keeps her grandchildren’s reading skills sharp so it’s easier when they get back to school in the fall.
“With the help of the library, we have really instilled a love of reading in them,” Bailey said. “It makes their homework so much easier, and it’s teaching them the pleasure of reading. You want them to have solid reading skills for pleasure, but also for school and their future jobs.”
Bailey said she is grateful for the Richmond Hill Public Library and all its programs, while Barker said she is grateful for all those in the community who are supportive of the program.
For more information on the summer reading program at the Richmond Hill Public Library, call 756-3580 or visit www.facebook.com/RichmondHillLibrary.