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Posts Tagged ‘summer reading’

Public Libraries Make a Difference: 5 Key Benefits of Summer Education Programs

Public libraries perform a key role in the education and development of young learners through summer education programs.

Summer vacation threatens to reverse many of the achievement gains that students—and teachers—worked so hard to reach during the previous school year. Low-income students are especially vulnerable to the “summer slide.” According to the Young Adult Library Services Association, low-income students “lose more than two months in math skills and reading achievement, despite the fact that their middle-class peers make slight gains.” Summer education programs can stop the summer slide.

 

Public libraries that offer dynamic summer educations provide these five key benefits:

1. Foster a Love of Reading

To foster a lifelong love of reading, summer reading programs offer incentives for kids to read multiple books during the summer. This summer, the New York Public Library is encouraging kids to read by challenging them to enter an essay contest where they write about how the book they are reading or how books in general help make the world a better place. The winners will see the Yankees, meet a player, and take a bow on the field.

2. Close the Achievement Gap

Summer educational programs help reduce the achievement gap experienced during the summer months. This is especially critical for low-income children who may have other opportunities available. In 2010, a study carried out at Dominican University found that:

• 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.

• Students who participated in the public library summer reading program had better reading skills at the end of third grade and scored higher on the standards test than the students who did not participate.

3. Provide Much-Needed Meals

Children from low-income areas may spend all day at the library because their parents are working and cannot afford to enroll them in a camp or provide childcare. Children who depend on free or reduced-price lunch programs during the school year are at risk of hunger during the summer months. And when kids are hungry, they are not receptive to learning. Many libraries provide meals alongside enriching programs involving craft, games, music, and movies. Lunch at the Library is an organization that “provides library staff with the tools and support they need to develop successful public library summer meal programs that provide children and teens in low-income communities with free and nutritious lunches through the USDA Summer Food Service Program.”

4. Offer STEM/Hands-On Education

According to the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), students need 21st-century skills to prepare for college and career. YALSA recommends a broad learning program for summer and a focus on STEM with hands-on activities that capture the interest of children and teenagers. The Orange County Library System in central Florida, offers camps, classes, and programs during the summer with many hands-on learning opportunities. Technology camps offer the opportunities for kids to learn engineering, robotics & electronics, graphic design, audio & video production, sewing, knitting, weaving, space exploration, and more.

5. Enable Teen Volunteer Opportunities

The Collaborative Summer Library Program’s 2017 theme is Build a Better World. One of the best ways teens can build a better world is by giving back to their community through volunteering at their local library during the summer. Teen volunteers at the Kirkwood Public Library in Missouri make flyers, do prep work for activities, help with summer reading programs, and become reading buddies to kids.

Public libraries provide key services to children during the summer months and all year long, often partnering with local schools to make sure students have the resources they need to succeed. They truly make a difference in their communities.

Support public libraries and join the American Library Association’s effort to save library funding. #saveIMLS

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Take the Reading Without Walls Challenge


Gene Luen Yang, who is currently serving a two-year term as the fifth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, created the Reading Without Walls Challenge to encourage people of all ages to read books outside their comfort zones. The challenge is simple. Yang wants readers to seek diversity through books in three ways: diversity of characters, diversity of topics, and diversity of book formats.

These are the guidelines. First, readers should choose books with characters who do not look or live like they do. Second, readers should choose books about topics they know little about. And third, readers should choose books in unfamiliar formats, so readers of chapter books, for instance, might read a graphic novel instead. A book may cover one, two, or all three of these objectives.

Reading Without Walls comes at a time when walls, both physical and invisible, threaten to divide people along geographic, socioeconomic, and political lines. These divisions are fostering distrust, misunderstanding, and an overall lack of empathy. As Yang explained in the March/April 2017 issue of Poets & Writers, “Right now it seems like—not just in America, but around the world—we need a little more empathy.” And studies show that reading builds empathy. Reading demolishes walls, opens worlds, and builds empathy one book at a time.

The Reading Without Walls Challenge can help make summer education programs successful. The Children’s Book Council has free downloads, including a Certificate of Excellence, to encourage young readers. And don’t forget to share pictures of your Reading Without Walls books on Twitter using the hashtag #ReadingWithoutWalls. We at ProQuest would love to see your Reading Without Walls photos as well. Tweet us @ProQuest.

Here are a few of my Reading Without Walls books:


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7 Summer Reading Titles for High School Students

Most school districts have summer reading lists to help keep students’ minds from turning to mush while away from school. The lists can vary wildly, with titles including the unquestionable classics to the latest in teen lit. eLibrary can help out with its many literature-related Research Topics, which can be used to introduce works to students before summer or can be accessed while they are reading over the break. So, here are a handful of  works with corresponding RT pages that you may want to suggest to your older high school students. Some of them have been controversial, but, hey, that’s probably why they appeal to teens.

Listed in order of publication date.

1. Brave New World  Although it was written all the way back in 1931, Aldous Huxley’s story of a world of social stratification, consumerism and a lack of privacy is still relevant.

Brave New World RT

Brave New World Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

2. The Catcher in the Rye  This 1951 work by J. D. Salinger is possibly the ultimate expression of teenage angst and rebellion, which, of course, got it in trouble with a lot of schools over the years.

The Catcher in the Rye RT

The Catcher in the Rye Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

3. Farenheit 451  Ray Bradbury envisions an American dystopia in which certain books are outlawed, confiscated and burned. Perfect for examining freedom of thought and speech.

Fahrenheit 451 RT

Fahrenheit 451 Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

4. Black Like Me  John Howard Griffin, a white man, dyed his skin and traveled around the American South as a black man. Another book that ties well with the study of American history due to its probing of racial attitudes and civil rights in the 1960s. Griffin had a very interesting life and is worth examining itself.

John Howard Griffin RT

John Howard Griffin Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

5. Catch-22  The phrase “catch 22” has become part of our language to describe a situation that is made impossible by contradictory rules, and it was Joseph Heller who coined it in his satirical novel about a bombardier in World War II.

Catch-22 RT

Catch-22 Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

6. Slaughterhouse-Five  “All this happened, more or less.” And off the reader goes into Kurt Vonnegut’s wild satire that is influenced by his own experience of witnessing the Allied firebombing of Dresden, Germany, during World War II. Challenged by critics and a challenging read.

Slaughterhouse-Five RT

Slaughterhouse-Five Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

7. The Kite Runner  Khaled Hosseini’s 2003 bestselling novel delves into themes of guilt and betrayal that play out against a swath of Afghan history.

The Kite Runner RT

The Kite Runner Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary