By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Every kid looks forward to the carefree days of summer. However, the months out of school can have an affect called the “summer slide.” This is what happens between school years when kids do not read or work to retain what they learned in school.
The Metropolitan Library System’s new Summer Reading Program is the best way for a child to keep reading over the summer. Readers can register online and log their reading time from now through July 31.
Program participants can read anytime, anywhere. Sign up is easy and can be done individually, as a family or as a group. The program is coordinated each year by the Office of Library Development (ODL).
The program themed “Fizz, Boom, Read!” offers inspiration for a summer filled with reading adventures for young Oklahomans.
This year, the Summer Reading program welcomes adults to join in on the fun. Now adult readers can model lifelong learning by participating along with their children, grandchildren, neighbors and friends.
Readers are able to sign up, track reading time, and claim incentives online from any computer, including the public computers available at any of the 19 library locations.
The online program offers several enhanced services such as custom reading lists, and the option to receive book recommendations via email. Expert librarians throughout the library system compile books lists.
Summer Reading is for all ages. Just read or listen to 20 minutes every day for at least 30 days to reach Goal 1 and Goal 2. Pre-readers can count the time spent listening to stories. Participants who reach the final goal will be entered into a random gift drawing for prizes donated by generous sponsors.
Reading only 20 minutes per day will net the same benefits no matter if the source is in print, digital, or even audio formats.
“There are so many different ways to read 20 minutes every day,” said Emily Williams, Young Adult Services Coordinator. “Carry books or your eBook reader with you wherever you go.
“Read a chapter together as a family every night. Check out or download an audiobook for car rides or long walks. Read magazines, online databases, eBooks, and more.”
The Metropolitan Library System recognizes that reading is a fundamental skill needed for success in life. They have offered the Summer Reading program for over 80 years.
Reading during the summer break helps children and teens to minimize the learning decline between school years. Studies show reading as little as 20 minutes a day can significantly reduce stress, improve your memory and concentration, and strengthen one’s analytical thinking skills.
Research also shows that on average, children lose approximately two months of their reading achievement if they do not read during the summer. They typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of the summer than they did on the same test at the beginning of the summer.
Daily reading not only helps kids maintain their current reading skills and helps them stay on track when school begins in the fall, but they experience a summer of adventure by stimulating their imaginations.
For the sixth consecutive year, the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan is partnering with the Oklahoma Department of Libraries during the Summer Reading Program to offer the Fizz, Boom, Save for College Sweepstakes.
One child and one teen participating in the summer reading program will each win $2,529 to start a college savings plan. Each winner’s library will receive $1,000. Visit your local library, or ok4saving.org to enter.
For more information, visit metrolibrary.org/summerreading.