Updated 07/08/2011 05:00 AM
State of Education: Summer reading
The sun may be shining and class may be out of session, but that doesn't mean a good book is out of the question for entertainment this summer.
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Summertime brings many things - school vacation, outdoor fun, and something else that can be enjoyable. Summer reading.
"Part of what we do in an organized way is we show kids that reading is fun and the more fun you have doing something the more likely you'll embrace it in the future," said Jeff Cannell, Deputy Commissioner of Cultural Education.
This is the main theme behind the "Summer Reading at New York Libraries" program, a statewide effort to keep kids reading. The idea is for young people to have the opportunity to access all the resources possible from their local libraries but it's also fun. Children get to choose their own books, which also sparks interest. For the Clifton Park- Halfmoon Library, the turnout is now, so far, so good.
"We have over 700 kids registered so far for the three sections of our summer reading program and the registration started June 20th," said Janet Kreason, Clifton Park Library Head of Youth Services.
Then there's incentive. One of the things the state is providing libraries this year are little reading passports.
"Whenever a child comes to a program they get a sticker like a visa stamp, and once they get seven stickers by the end of the summer they'll be eligible to win some other small prize that's another incentive to keep reading," said Jendy Murphy, Albany Library Head of Youth Services.
According to New York State Library officials, nearly 1.5 million young people participated in the summer reading program last year statewide, and they hope those numbers continue to grow, simply because reading in the summer helps when it comes to going back to school in the fall.
"Children who read in the summer retain or even improve their reading skills, and conversely children who do not read during the summer lose much of what they've gained during the school year," said Kreason.
"They're more in an academic frame of mind if you will, they are approaching school with more confidence because they've had the opportunity over the summer to practice," said Cannell.
For more information, visit your local library. With more than 1100 public library and neighborhood branches participating, there's plenty of opportunity for reading fun in the summertime.