Summer reading programmes are a great way to encourage children to read over the summer months. Such programmes not only give children something to do during those not so sunny Irish holidays but also improve literacy skills and expand the imagination in those curious little minds.
One such programme is the Summer Reading Buzz run by Dublin City Public Libraries and the libraries of South Dublin County Council, Fingal County Council, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council, Kildare County Council and Longford Local Authority.Children aged between 7 and 12 can sign up for a Buzz membership card in their local library. This membership card is stamped with a bee stamp each time the child reads a library book and completed cards, containing 10 stamps, will be entered in library prize draws for lots of exciting prizes. Dublin City Public Libraries Summer Events Programme for children will also run throughout July and August and will have a special emphasis on books, reading and stories to complement the Summer Reading Buzz.
Other such programmes include the Summer Reading Challenge in County Wexford. Their programme works as follows;
1. Each child signs up at their local library
2. Children borrow and read at least 6 library books of their own choice during the Summer, collecting rewards along the way
3. Library staff provide guidance, activities and fun
4. Children receive a certificate and medal on completion
More information at http://www.wexford.ie/wex/departments/Library/WhatsOn/
Previous education minister, Ruairi Quinn has said of such programmes: “Libraries are a hugely important resource in supporting children’s literacy. While libraries are an excellent resource for all families, they can be of particular assistance to families who find it difficult to meet the cost of providing a rich range of books and educational resources in the home”.
The Literacy and Numeracy Strategy acknowledges the importance of libraries and working with libraries to improve literacy. Summer Reading Programmes are an example of this kind of co-operation. It’s a simple, fun and free way of encouraging children to read during the summer break.
Last year thousands of children joined Summer Reading Programmes and were inspired to read during the long summer break when their reading skills can decline without the regular reading activity at school.
Reading is a simple, fun activity that can fitted in around family holidays, camps etc. Parents can seek advice from library staff about the types of books that are available for borrowing, especially for emergent and ‘going solo’ readers.
The Summer Reading Programme also gives families an opportunity to see what other events and facilities are available in their local library, such as Internet access, story time, book clubs and many other events.
So if you have young children, why not contact your local library and find out if they are running a Summer Reading Programme which could entertain and educate during the Summer break.