Innovative Library Summer Reading Programs Stimulate Learning
Holistic and collaborative approach to reading programs boosts child’s summer learning experience
Once school days come to an end, children’s free time becomes seemingly endless. From a youngster’s perspective, the summer reaches on forever – nine or ten weeks can feel like an eternity when it’s impossible to imagine all of the things that will occupy the time between now and September. In addition to camp, family vacations, and endless outdoor adventures (swimming especially!) is another summer tradition – public library summer reading programs!
In Massachusetts – and across the country – public libraries participate in the Collaborative Summer Library Program. Each year brings a new theme to the program, and libraries work to incorporate educational programs, celebrations of learning, and constant reading in order to provide a comprehensive summer reading program that not only encourages families to read together, but allows participants’ reading to be supported by educational activities that relate to the program’s theme.
Each library’s summer reading program requires that participants sign up and log their reading time throughout the duration of the program, and most libraries begin their programming with a summer celebration. Then, throughout the summer, special performances, demonstrations, and other events will take place at the library – supporting families in furthering their learning about specific themes. This year’s theme – Fizz, Boom, Read! – encourages children to learn about science by exploring both fiction and nonfiction reading material, and libraries will come alive with everything from animal-filled puppet productions to exciting and surprising science experiments.
Of course, families who participate in a library’s summer reading program aren’t limited to reading about science books. Follow our Summer Reading Resource series for weekly suggestions of great reads and ways to learn together, or peruse library shelves for some new favorites.
Libraries will be celebrating the start of summer reading programs throughout the next few weeks, and in addition to kick-off events, there are some exciting educational opportunities coming up as well! Many upcoming events share a theme with a great children’s book – check out this list of upcoming summer reading events to see which ones pair well with an excellent family read:
Tuesday, June 24th, 11am-12noon: The Hatfield Library presents Animal World Experience, who will teach visitors about amazing animal adaptations. Funded by the Hatfield Cultural Council, the event will share information about how animals survive in all kinds of extreme habitats around the world.
- Read: What Do You Do When Something Wants To Eat You? by Steve Jenkins
Tuesday, June 24th: Magician Ed Popielarczyk will perform at the Carnegie Library in Turners Falls in celebration of the start of the summer reading program!
- Read:: The Great Magician of the World by Fran Nuno
Tuesday, June 24th, 12:30-1:30pm: At the Lee Library, the summer reading program begins with Fire and Ice, a Mad Science show filled with lots of cool science phenomena.
- Read: Between Fire and Ice: The Science of Heat (Experiment!) by David Darling.
Thursday, June 26th, 10:30-11:30am: The Hatfield Library welcomes the Juggling Nutrition Magician Show, a fun show that combines magic with health and food science!
- Read: Gregory, the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat
Wednesday, July 9th, 1pm: PuppeTree Puppets presents Swimmy and the Swimmer at the Holyoke Library. Based on a classic Leo Lionni book, the show teaches children about camoflage, survival, and underwater creatures.
- Read: Swimmy by Leo Lionni, of course!
Friday, July 11th: The Carnegie Library presents the puppet show Bully for the Three Pigs at Peske Park in Turners Falls.
- Read: A modern version of the classic tale of the three pigs – The Three Pigs by David Wiesner, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, or The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas.
Saturday, July 12th: Star Wars enthusiasts will be right at home at the Jones Library in Amherst, where a history lesson, costume contest, trivia, and other Star Wars activities will take place.
- Read: Star Wars Origami: 36 Amazing Paper-folding Projects from a Galaxy Far, Far Away…. by Chris Alexander