Help your kids make books part of summer fun

Daily Journal

Teachers and parents often worry that the distractions of summer vacation will diminish children’s reading skills. Local libraries worry, too, and that’s the impetus behind their summer reading programs.

The program at the Greenwood Public Library started Monday, and the efforts at the Johnson County Public Library branches and at Edinburgh Wright-Hageman Public Library will start June 1.

This summer, the programs will focus on superheroes and do-it-yourselfers. A variety of special programs, such as crafts projects, games and special guests, are planned throughout the season. The emphasis is on fun, and kids will love it.

And adults won’t be forgotten, either.

The goal is serious — getting children to read. But don’t tell the kids that. Let them think they’re just having fun while school’s out.

The libraries’ efforts not only help keep youngsters’ literacy skills from fading from one school year to the next, they help engender a love of reading that could last a lifetime.

While the programs primarily are aimed at children, adults are encouraged to sign up, as well. Think about it; when was the last time you sat down and read a book just for fun? Summer offers a chance to rekindle the joy that comes in becoming absorbed in a good, old-fashioned story.

In Greenwood, the theme is DIY, and activities will celebrate all things do-it-yourself. Among the special activities will be a puppet show, a Rube Goldberg challenge, a magic show and a local craft fair. On July 17, a full evening of fun has been planned around the movie “Frozen.”

In Edinburgh, the theme of this year’s program is “Super Heroes.” There are three age groups, pre-K through fifth grade, Grades 6-12 and adult. There will be small weekly prizes awarded, and large prizes, such as tickets to Indianapolis Indians and Cincinnati Reds baseball games will be given out at the end. A special evening with a cookout and games is being planned at Irwin Park.

The Johnson County Public Library branches also will have a superheroes theme, “Every hero has a story.” A variety of activities and rewards are planned for throughout the summer.

Three big programs are planned — a water show, a visit by Ronald McDonald and a Johnny Cash tribute concert. The reading push will culminate with a pool and pizza party for all children and adults who gain credit for 20 eligible circulated items over the course of the summer.

When children finish the school year, they celebrate their freedom from daily lessons. But for many, that lack of daily discipline can mean their reading skills might deteriorate over the summer break.

Literacy is a foundational skill. That means, the ability to read can spell success or failure in nearly all other subjects in school. Falling behind often means staying behind for quite some time.

Summer reading programs offer an opportunity to keep those skills sharp throughout the break. In addition, if parents enroll in the program along with their children, they set an example of reading that could inspire the youngsters to read even more.

We encourage parents and grandparents to sign children up for a reading program. Not only will it help them when they return to school in August, it might help them develop a love of reading that will benefit them the rest of their lives.

At issue

Parents and educators fear that children’s reading skills will deteriorate over the summer break.

Our point

Library reading programs offer a fun way to keep youngsters reading throughout the break.

At a glance

Here’s information about the summer reading programs offered at local libraries:

Where: Edinburgh Wright-Hageman Public Library

Theme: Superheroes

When: June 1 to July 10

Where: Greenwood Public Library

Theme: DIY

When: Through Aug. 1

Where: Johnson County Public Library branches

Theme: Every Hero Has a Story

When: June 1 to July 18