The Garden City Telegram
5/25/2013
SOUTHWEST LIFE

Summertime fun

Becky Malewitz/Telegram Max Brookover, 2, Hannah Ebert, 2 and Sadie Brungardt, 1 play with the new train set at the Finney County Library.
Touch Photo To Enlarge

Local library offers wide variety of vacation programs for all

By RACHAEL GRAY

rgray@gctelegram.com

In order to help retain what students have learned over the school year, educators encourage parents to get children involved in summer programs.

Judy Cole, youth services supervisor at the Finney County Public Library, shares that same view and encourages parents to consider the library when looking for summer learning activities.

"Plus, we're the coolest place in town. Literally," she said.

Cole said cool temperatures in the library attract visitors who want to escape the hot summer sun. But it's the entertainment, content and programs that keep them there.

The library this summer is offering numerous educational, information and entertainment programs for adults, children and families.

"We have five different age groups for the summer reading program," she said.

Those age groups include 0- to 5-year-olds, 6- to 9-year-olds, tweens, teens and adults.

Each Friday afternoon, prizes will be drawn from the names of participants who meet certain goals.

The program begins June 3 and ends July 12.

During that summer session, the library also has other events and activities.

The library will feature Matinee Mondays, with family movies from 4 to 6 p.m. On Tuesdays, the library will have adult yoga from 10 to 10:45 a.m. "Get Your Game On" game night will be at 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays. On Wednesdays, the library will have family yoga from 10 to 10:20 a.m. Wee Readers will be held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The library also will have Spanish-anguage story times June 22 and July 20.

Some of the other events and programs will include movie mania, story times for older students, craft times, outreach programs and family play days.

Cole said the library is a community asset.

"Being involved and participating in the library programs, it's a free entertainment resource," she said.

She said prizes and games get children in the door, but she hopes that books and love of reading keep them there.

"If I get one kid who discovers all the sudden that they love reading, then I've done my job," she said.

Cole also said the programs help students stay at the same reading level throughout the summer.

"Kids who don't read over the summer, studies say they lose those last six weeks of school. Reading through summer helps them. Students who come back in August and haven't read just aren't at the same level as those who have," she said.

According to the American Library Association, summer reading programs began in the 1890s as a way to encourage school children, particularly those in urban areas and not needed for farm work, to read during their summer vacation, use the library and develop the habit of reading.

The ALA lists benefits of a summer reading program to encourage people to make reading a lifelong habit. Reluctant readers can be drawn in by the activities. Reading over the summer helps children keep their skills up, and the program can generate interest in the library and books.

According to an article printed in the School Library Journal, summer reading programs boost student achievement.

"Based on the findings of a recent three-year study by Dominican University's Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, we can confirm what many librarians have long suspected: Students who take part in their local library's summer reading program significantly improve their reading skills. In fact, we found that kids who participate in these programs are 52 Lexile points ahead of their peers who do not. Summer reading programs are also an antidote for learning loss. So instead of losing knowledge and skills during the summer months, kids who attend reading programs actually show gains," the article states.

The SLJ also did a study of their own, targeting students in third grade. The findings showed that students who participated in summer reading programs scored higher on reading tests at the beginning of fourth grade and didn't experience a summer learning loss. They also scored higher on post-tests than students who did not participate, the article said.

For more information on the programs at the Finney County Public Library, visit its website, finneylibrary.org, call 272-3680, or follow the Finney County Public Library Facebook page for updates and information.