Keep Your Kids Reading in a Library Summer Reading Program

School is out, pools are open, camps are in full swing - and schoolwork is hardly a blip on our radars, thank goodness! Of course, don’t count reading in that category. Reading can be perfectly lazy, in the best sense, and summer offers so many opportunities to enjoy books you and your kids love. 

Though “the summer slide” is a legitimate concern for parents and teachers, I like to think that if given the opportunity, most kids will gobble up good books and magazines - school or no school. Summer reading comes unhindered by assignments, allowing kids to read for pleasure, at their own pace, books of their choosing. It is the best of both worlds - entertainment and education, a break from the lessons without the loss of learning, a remedy for the “Doldrums” (in fact, dull summers are the biggest cause of “summer learning loss”).

Encouraging your kids to read this summer can be pretty simple. Bring books along with you wherever you go, be it on vacation or just to the grocery store. Provide a space that invites reading with plenty of reading materials around the house and in the car, and visit your local bookstore. Read with your kids, and read in front of them - indoors and outdoors. Summer reading programs abound at local libraries, so sign up your kids (and yourself!) - they come with perks beyond the books.

The St. Louis County Library has Summer Reading Clubs for the whole family, from toddlers to grandparents. Teens can register online, and their club includes some great events, like podcasting workshops with local radio station KDHX and comic book making with Chris Sagovac. Visit your local branch for logsheets and a schedule of club activities. The perks? Cardinals tickets, signed first-editions, iPod Nanos - just to name a few.

If you live in the city, visit your St. Louis Public Library branch to sign your kids or teens up for their Summer Reading Club, which runs through August 6. Reading goals chart books rather than hours spent reading, an approach I like for its focus on the books rather than the clock. Club members can also earn prizes by attending summer library events, which range from Poetry Slams to World Juggling Day to Library Family Night field trips at The Magic House. Then there is Pageturners, the reading club for us grown-ups - no reason we can’t enjoy our books with some perks too.

Similar summer programs are underway for kids and teens at the St. Charles City-County Library District, and in other local libraries across the metro area (like University City or the Metro East, which are not affiliated with county library districts). Visit your neighborhood branch for more information and to sign up.

Erin Quick, books blogger for SmartParenting

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