State summer reading program, 'One World, Many Stories,' encourages kids to travel the globe

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:43

    Summertime reading is as critical as school-year reading Calling all world travelers: The Ramapo Catskill Library System (RCLS) is encouraging all children and teens to participate in the New York State Library’s statewide summer reading programs. This year’s theme, “One World, Many Stories,” encourages children to visit their libraries and explore countries and cultures from around the globe. The summer Teen program, “You Are Here,” allows area teens to find that while the other side of the world seems very far away, by visiting their local library, and in reading and learning about what and who’s around them, they can make the places they read about come alive wherever they are. Kids want to know what’s good to read. Librarians can steer them to old books, new books, books that children and teens love now and will love in the future. No matter how you look at it, books are a treasure. They take us away from daily concerns; they fly us to countries we may never ever see in person. They show us the many facets of wonder - in nature, in science, and in humankind’s capacity for courage and kindness. They introduce us to friends we will have for life. Reading (or listening to someone else read) constitutes our introduction to a world of wonderful characters and people. Summer programs, created especially for kids by youth services librarians, include gaming parties, chalk drawing contests, knitting and crocheting lessons, family fun activities, balloon art, puppet shows, and magic shows for the K-5 group to T-shirt making, pizza parties and origami workshops for the tweens and teens. In promoting reading as a leisure activity, the Ramapo Catskill Library System invites children and teens to come to the public libraries, make friends, have fun - and read. Beaches, parks, television and computer games present so many distractions that it’s easy for youngsters to forget about the joys and rewards of reading. Libraries play a critical role in maintaining reading levels over the summer, which research shows is as important as the structured reading curriculum during the academic year. Children who participate in library summer reading programs return to school in the fall ready to learn at grade level. In 2009, New York State libraries served over 1.5 million children of all ages who participated at their local neighborhood libraries, a 300 percent increase over the past nine years. According to educational research, if children select their own reading materials, this positive experience leads to more time spent reading and improved reading ability. But with so many choices out there, how does a child know where to start? Librarians are trained to direct kids to books and other reading materials that best suit their personality, interests, and imagination. As parents structure their kids’ summertime activities, they should remember to put reading into the mix. Once children discover the fun of reading for pleasure, they can’t be stopped.” School achievement research confirms there is a positive relationship between the amount of time a child spends reading and an improved reading level in school. According to RCLS Director Robert Hubsher, “Summertime at public libraries opens up a whole new social world for kids, and, while they’re there, we also get them to try a book or two. In addition to traditional books, children and teens can download e-books to their personal electronic devices.” Planning for the 2011 New York State Summer Reading Programs, “One World, Many Stories” and “You Are Here” was made possible with Federal Library Services and Technology Act funds, awarded to the New York State Library by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. Everyone can explore places from Oceania to Russia through stories, crafts, music, dance and other activities this summer at the library! Remember, the library is the place to celebrate reading this summer. Randall Enos is the Youth Services consultant for the Ramapo Catskill Library System.