To the editor:
Sometimes I think the library's summer reading program is the world's best kept secret.
For example, a mother called in to ask me if the library had always had a summer reading program because I had visited her child at Strodes Mills Elementary and talked about reading in the summer and sent home a little paper. And her child really wanted to participate.
Well, yes. The library has always had a summer reading program. I still have my certificate from the Mifflin County Library when, in 1981, I was a child reading away the summer having countless adventures with Nancy Drew (whom I still adore) and the Boxcar Children. Wouldn't it be cool to live in a boxcar?
I'm so proud to be continuing with the summer reading program tradition. Now, children, as well as babies and teens and adults, can read books in the summer and win great prizes. Preschool and school-age kids should never spend the summer without books. I call it "dumber in the summer." Teachers are nicer; they call it "the summer slide." Quite simply, kids forget. No matter the age, if a person does not continue to practice a skill, he forgets it. Reading is a skill. Young children especially will forget the word recognition they have learned this school year if they do not read this summer.
Statistically, the number of future prison cells is based on the number of third graders who cannot read on a third grade level. One in three students in the fourth grade can read on a fourth grade level, but that means two out of those three can't. Those students cannot comprehend what they are reading. Let's change this. Please encourage your children to read, whether you are the parent, grandparent, aunt or neighbor.
Our goal at the Mifflin County Library is to get our kids reading for practice as well as for pleasure. We want your child to love reading. A child will get a prize no matter what he or she reads. Magazines, audio books, LEGO books, you name it, we probably have it. And if we don't, we'll get it.
Babies will also get prizes. I realize a two-month-old is a "captive" audience but, hey. Get them "hooked on books" while they are young. I offer "Baby Story Time" each season. The summer session will start soon so if you'd like to come, please call. In the summer reading program, older children can read to younger children. Younger children who cannot read can "pretend" to read to the dog and still count it on the book log. Moms and dads can read to their child and count those picture books on their adult book log too. Everyone should read this summer.
Teens (students going into grade 6 through recent high school grads) read and earn prizes. When they read the maximum, their names will go into a drawing for one of three Kindles.
The summer reading program is eight weeks long and there are various activities each week. So even if you have been away, it's not too late to come in and grab a book log. Our activities are listed inside. The very last day to get a prize is Aug. 10. Keep track of your books now, and come in for a book log later.
Make reading a part of your summer. And remember, just like all those years ago when I was a kid, children in elementary school still receive a certificate of participation in the summer reading program come September. Only now, the certificate is from me. For more information, visit any one of the five library locations: Lewistown, Milroy, Belleville, Allensville, and McVeytown. Or visit us at www.mifcolib.org.
Mifflin County Library is a United Way Agency, which sponsors the summer reading program every year.
Youth Services Librarian
Mifflin County Library