Friday, January 19, 2018

Ray Dale

Summer program teaches kids to read for fun

Literary Junction
Public libraries across the country have always played an important role in working with school districts to encourage kids to read. Most effective are library programs aimed at helping kids in the early grades. Research has shown that kids who are introduced to reading for fun at an early age are more apt to continue reading as they grow into adults, becoming more proficient along the way. 
In Casper, Wyo. where I grew up, the first, second and third grade kids in all the grade schools would be loaded on a bus and taken to the Natrona County Library. While there, the children’s librarian would do a half hour presentation that included reading to us from a library book. We would then be given a book reading form, which we took home and used over the next two months to keep track of the books we read. If we read 10 books, we would be given a certificate of achievement. I don’t have to tell this certificate was a very big deal for an 8-year-old. 
At the Big Horn County Library, our children’s librarian Angie Little Light has been doing something similar for the kids in her summer program. The program, as a whole, was divided into three groups by age. Each of these groups then met once a week for an age appropriate program, which included reading a story and doing some sort of activity related to the story. 
In addition, kids were encouraged to read books on their own. For each one they read, they could fill out a book form that was then put on top of the wall. At the end of the eight-week summer program, there are 315 book forms on display. Anyone coming down to the children’s section can simply look up to see the achievement of the kids in the program. 
This summer, Angie and Library Director Donelle Boyer set a goal for the kids to work toward achieving. That goal was to have enough forms up on the wall to go around the entire room. This is the first time ever that there were enough books read to go around the whole children’s section. Needless to say, Angie and Donelle are very proud of the kids in the program.
With 315 books read and more than 550 attendees, this year’s eight-week program at the Big Horn County Library was a big success.