Summer is coming. Kids are looking forward to sleeping in, playing in the park and staying up late. One Penticton teacher hopes that they will also find time to read books.
“Not reading throughout the summer can, and will, cause children to slide backwards,” said Nicole MacIntyre, a teacher at Queen’s Park Elementary. “We call this reading loss the summer slump.”
MacIntyre is so dedicated to the idea of summer reading that she has volunteered to open and operate a summer library out of the HUB resource centre at Queen’s Park. She believes this effort will make it easier for kids at this school, and in the wider community, to get their hands on good reading material.
The library will run from July 16 to Aug. 22, and will be open two days per week (Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon). Children will be able to borrow two books per visit.
The HUB is a one-stop community and family resource centre. Collaborating with a wide range of local agencies and organizations, it provides information in areas such as nutrition, counselling, parenting and pre-school. The summer library is just one more resource that will make it easier for families to get the help they need.
It’s not difficult to keep up grade reading levels over the summer. According to MacIntyre, it only takes 12 books per summer to eliminate summer reading loss, or as little as 13 minutes per day devoted to reading.
Unfortunately, not all kids have books in the home. Although people can go to the public library, the HUB is just one more way to make it easier for families to access books. “We all want the same thing, which is to create a love of reading in children,” she said.
MacIntyre hopes that once children get hooked on reading, they will come back to school in September confident and ready to continue learning.
“Children who love to read and continue to have a book in their hand every day over the summer holidays, will actually gain a month’s worth of reading, while a reluctant reader, who is not reading over the summer, will actually lose three months worth of reading skill,” said MacIntyre. “Between Grades 1 to 6, not reading during the summer has the potential to create a two-year difference in reading achievement.”
MacIntyre is still looking for books to fill the HUB library.
“The goal of the summer library is simple,” she said. “We want to place books into the hands of children.”
If you would like to make a book donation please contact her at NMacIntyre@summer.com.
Heather Allen is a writer and reader living in Penticton.