Friday, June 26, 2015

It's all about the reading

If you are a school librarian, you know the anguish of closing the library for the summer. As much as we can work to promote our pubic library's summer opportunities, you know some students won't have access to books after school is out, because they don't have a ride to the library or have families grappling with either overdue obligations or anxiety about incurring future obligations...

Why is this so critically important? Research proves that minutes reading equals academic achievement. 

I was thrilled to see my doctor "prescribing" reading this summer...cute tie in with the cooperative theme!

In Alabama, we have the Summer Learning Challenge (for those with home Internet connectivity...)

If your child is a voracious reader, it's going to be pretty much impossible to sate their need to read with your home library. I feel like too many educators and policymakers don't understand what this sort of volume of reading is like and how public and school libraries have help to nurture generations of Americans. For the lucky ones, reading is a family experience, as is visible in this really lovely PTA Family Reading Challenge.

I have the fondest memories of visiting both the branch and main public libraries during the summer, emerging with a pile of books to while away the hours. As a middle schooler, I spent months combing the silver screen celebrity biographies, perched under a towel at the swimming pool immersed the worlds of Frances Farmer, David Niven, Evelyn Keyes, and Lauren Bacall. There was another summer when I ripped through all of Dick Francis. And another summer where my grandmother told me she believed I was ready for Kathleen Winsor's potboiler, Forever Amber.

So what can we do for those without these sorts of family commitments? I'd love it if EVERY school library was open one day during the summer. I'd love it even more if we could send out books with postage-paid return envelopes to free-and-reduced lunch households. Failing that, I give away our donated copies and galleys. It's not really enough to get them through the summer, but at least it will keep them going for a week or two...and, in the world of Accelerated Reader and slavish lexile adherence, it acknowledges that just reading is more important than what they're reading.  

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