Reading Keeps Summer from Turning Kids' Minds Into Jello

As another long summer away from school approaches, many parents are wondering how to keep their children busy doing something constructive. While certain T.V. shows and video games can be educational, nothing seems to beat good old fashioned reading. Or for very young children, being read to. Summer reading programs are a great way to provide children regular opportunities to read books, play writing games, and listen to stories. While children might be more focused on the fun and prizes involved, educators know that these sorts of programs help little kids get ready to read and big kids raise scores.

A study conducted by Jimmy Kim at Harvard's Center for Evaluation found that reading four or five books over the summer months had an impact on fall reading achievement comparable to attending summer school. (Kim) Another study concluded that, "children who read more than a half an hour per day during the summer had significantly higher reading comprehension gains by the fall compared with children who did not." In addition, the study showed that "children whose parents read to them at least twice a week over the summer also improved comprehension skills more than children whose parents did not." (Phillips and Chin)

Public libraries all over the country are busily gearing up for the 2009 summer reading program "Be Creative at your Library". The program is sponsored by the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP), which is a grassroots consortium of states working together to provide high-quality summer reading program materials for children at the lowest cost possible for their public libraries. The CSLP began in 1987 in the state of Minnesota and has since grown to include libraries from virtually every state in the country.

"Be Creative at your Library" is not only a wonderful free program that promotes parent/child involvement, but also gives kids an opportunity to have fun while learning valuable skills. Program coordinators often incorporate puppet shows, crafts, skits, and other fun activities to help children interact with the characters they read about and make various subjects come alive for them in a meaningful way. There's even a theme song for "Be Creative at your Library", sung by the children's cartoon character Billy Gorilly. The song was produced by Flying Kitten Music whose unique songs, stories, and educational materials are prime examples of the creative learning tools parents and kids can discover through the library.

To find out the details about dates, times, and registration for this summer's program, call or visit your local library. And to learn more about effective and engaging children's educational materials visit these websites:

www.scholastic.com
www.billygorilly.com
www.pbskids.org

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