By Terry Rogers
Over the summer, Milford Public Library, along with all libraries in the state offer a summer reading program to encourage children to continue reading throughout their summer break. That promotion ended last week and was a huge success, Robin Lank, Children’s Librarian said.
“That is our huge reading promotion for the Delaware public libraries with prizes, professional entertainers and storytellers as well as all types of programs and events throughout the state,” Reading through the summer months helps children by not only keeping their reading skills sharp but also can improve their reading level during the school year.
Several events offered at the library through the school year are designed to encourage reading at the library. Bark for Books is held at 4 PM on Wednesdays, a program designed for struggling and beginning readers who are invited to read to a real dog in a stress-free, non-judgmental environment. The library also sponsors Toddler Time, Friday Flicks and Story Hour to encourage reading in young children.
The library has programs for teens as well. The Teen Anime Club meets the second Friday of each month at 3 PM and there is a Young Adult Anime Club on the second Friday at 4 PM. The library also offers a Teen Robotics Club on the second Wednesday of each month and a Teen Games Unplugged on the first Thursday at 4 PM. A Young Adult Graphic Novel Club is held at the library on the first Wednesday of each month at 5 PM, just after the Teen Graphic Novel Club which is held on the first Wednesday of each month at 4 PM.
“Once children get in school, we focus on accelerated reading and other programs designed to improve their reading skills,” Ms. Lank said. “The best tip for parents is to read themselves and read to their children no matter what age they are. It is recommended that parents and children read together even after children can read on their own. Continue reading throughout the school year. Parents should set an example by reading on a daily basis as children often mimic what their parents do.”
Statistics support Ms. Lank’s suggestions. According to the National Education Association, 26 percent of children who were read to three or four times each week recognized all letters of the alphabet and 60 percent could count to 20 or higher at an earlier age than those who were not read to at young ages. In addition, the more types of reading materials available in the home, the higher a student’s reading proficiency. Not only does reading at home improve reading comprehension and language skills, statistics show that students who do more reading at home have higher math scores.
The studies show that it is also important to encourage children to read for fun. The United States Department of Education found that the more students read for fun on their own time, the higher their reading scores. However, only around nine percent of high school students say they read for fun.
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