New prizes were a hit with kids in St. Thomas Public Library’s Summer Reading Club.
Summer reading program at library sees big increase in 2017
It was probably the buttons. That’s the only answer Crystal Jeffery can come up with. The children and teen co-ordinator with the St. Thomas Public Library just helped wrap up the annual TD Summer Reading Club, and found significantly more kids visited the library this year than last. They read more books, too. “We had a button maker this year,” Jeffery said. “Kids were challenged to complete different goals to get different buttons, like [bring in] your reading log three times … the parents loved it too.”
The reading club started July 3 and went to August 23. During that time 638 children signed up, taking books out and participating in library events. Though kids of any age were encouraged to read most of the ones who signed up were between 6 and 10 year old.
In total they read more than 6,000 books — roughly 1,700 more than last summer.
“It was a very successful year,” Jeffery said. “We were surprised with how many kids came out and were excited about it … we had a little poster up in the department with the tally of the final number (of books read) so kids were really excited to come in and see that.”
“One of the most popular chapter books this summer was Captain Underpants,” Jeffery added. “And that’s just because of the movie … that one was highly requested.”
Students are encouraged to keep their minds active over the summer. Participating in programs like the library’s reading club is a good way for them to retain what they learn over the school year.
It also makes the transition back to school easier, says Jeffery. The library doesn’t specifically partner with the schools for the program but does send them postcards in June, to remind kids to sign up.
“We’re trying to encourage reading throughout the summer so they keep it up when they return to school in September,” Jeffery said. “And a lot of the kids, they get a little reading log when they sign up, and they keep track of all the books that they’ve read … in the fall, a lot of kids are excited to bring it in and show their teacher how much they’ve been reading.”
The goal isn’t just to get kids reading, but to have them learning as well. Buttons were given out to children who participated in library events and who completed tasks online, little ways for them to branch out with their interests.
As long as they’re reading and learning, that’s what matters.
“It’s anything that they’re reading at home,” Jeffery said. “So even if they’re reading one of the children’s magazines, that counts. Or if they’ve borrowed an audiobook and their listening to that in their car on a road trip, that counts in their reading log too … there’s lots of different ways to get those books read.”
The library also ran craft programs over the summer, as well as outreach initiatives to touch base with students who might not be able to make it to the library.
Next year, they hope more kids will be encouraged to come out, to read and to earn a few more buttons.
“We’re already talking about what we’re going to do with it next year,” Jeffery said, laughing.
Noah Van Bonn, left and Nathan Moule use computers at the St. Thomas Public Library. More than 630 students took part in the libraryís TD Summer Reading Club this summer, a jump from last yearís program.