Reading is an activity that can - and should - be done all year long. With
that in mind, the Palo Alto City Library has just launched Library Kids
Lead the Way, its summer reading program that continues through the end
This program supports two valuable tenets about reading: First of all,
kids who read during the summer maintain their reading skills when 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 did not.
* 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.
This brings us to our libraryís program and some of its key elements. What
impresses me most is that it is up to each child to set her/his own goals
for reading during the summer. What a brilliant approach!
Furthermore, 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.
They must sign up before August 1 and complete their goals by the end of
that month. When children reach their goals, they receive a certificate,
a free paperback book, and benefits from Round Table Pizza, the San Francisco
Giants, and Great America.
There are flyers about the program at all six branches of the library system.
You could also read about it at The Kidsí Page of the Palo Alto Public
Library, www.city.palo-alto.ca.us/palo/city/library/kids.html. maintaining
skills during summertime activities
This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children
Well: A Teacherís Advice for Parents.