The Union Recorder

June 12, 2013

EDITORIAL: Summer reading programs foster continuous learning year-round

The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — The Twin Lakes Library System recently kicked off its summer reading programs, offering another series of programs and activities aimed at broadening the minds of local readers.

While summer is a time to vacation and wind down, it still provides opportunities for parents to allow their children to interact with peers in learning activities. Though these activities are fun and engaging, they still promote education and learning — in settings outside the typical standard classroom.

These types of summer activities help bridge the gap between one school year to the next and demonstrate that learning is a continuous process that doesn’t shut off and on just become school is not in session.

Free, voluntary reading, like the opportunities provided by the library’s programs where children select their own titles at their level, is an asset to helping them become more engaged in reading. The summer programs at the library also feature enrichment activities, such as arts and crafts and special presentations that often can’t be included in the classroom setting because of time or financial constraints. This is a chance for young people to be exposed to programs some would otherwise never have an opportunity to experience.

In many instances summer camps such as the reading club enable students to sharpen their basic skills in reading, math and science, helping to reinforce what they learn in the classroom during the school year.

The programs are not just for young people, either. According to a recent compilation of United States Census data by the National Endowment for the Arts, less than half of the adult American population reads for pleasure, a decline that parallels decrease in total book reading by adults. Overall, book reading among adults dipped by 20 percent from the 1990s to 2000s and continues to falter.

There are young adult and adult summer reading programs as well — from yoga to movie nights — and prizes are awarded at the conclusion of the program. If young people see reading for pleasure put into practice, they are more likely to continue to do so as well.

These types of skills often carry over from one school year to the next and hopefully show up in the classroom and the next stages in life as well. They show young people that learning can often be fun and much less like a structured requirement, promoting lessons that will hopefully spark their interests in learning and reading as a life-long process from their youth on into adulthood and beyond.