Reading is an activity that can
- and should - be done all year long. With that in mind, many public libraries
sponsor reading programs that invite children to come in, set summer reading
goals, and continue reading during the summers.
These programs support two valuable tenets about reading: First of all,
kids who read during the summer maintain their reading skills until the new
school year begins. Secondly, when children are empowered to set their own
goals, there is a greater chance that they will attain them.
Katy Obringer, Supervisor of Childrenís Library in
Palo Alto, has forwarded me the findings of a study by Barbara Heyns, who
wrote Summer Reading and the Effects of Schooling (published in 1978
and now out of print).
The results of the study are worthy of passing along
to you. Working with 1,493 sixth-graders, Heyns was able to determine that:
- the number of books read over the summer was a
significant predictor of gains in reading over the summer.
- children who used the library read more than those who
- those who read more than six books over the summer gained
more than those who read fewer than six books.
- those who lived closer to the library read more.
My own experience in the classroom has shown me that
children choose reading as an activity more frequently when they are in charge
of selecting their own reading material.
In most of the library programs, the children must
sign up and complete their goals by set dates. When children reach their
goals, they receive any number of rewards from local businesses. The greatest
reward, however, is that the kids have improved their reading and enjoyed
their time at it.