Summer Reading for Lifelong Success (by Ellen Berry)

libraryIntroduction:  I have learned through my community work with the library foundation that summer reading programs have positive effects within our community, and then more support for these programs means that more children with be reached. I think if more people knew about these programs momentum could be gained to enrich the programs and we would see a rise in attendance.

Part 1 — Research Question & Collection: Why are summer reading programs important for school age children?

This article is an overview of “summer reading Programs” and their outcomes. It has many easy to find facts and highlights both library-run programs and summer school programs. It is supportive to the case that these programs do help children keep-up with education, and can advance the academic abilities of those involved with the programs. This piece is authoritative because it gives a clear citation of sources at the end of the article.

  • Barack, Lauren. “Mid-Continent Public Library Proves Summer Reading Programs Boost Student Achievement”. 12 February 2014. 5 August 2014

This journal entry highlights summer reading programs in the mid-west, but also gives general information and statistics of the benefits of summer reading programs. There is a lot of information on how these programs help children, and especially at risk children succeed in school. This is an academic journal, and serves as a resource for reform and acceleration in our schools.

  • Smith III, Malbert. Brewer, Dee. “Stop Summer Academic Loss and Education Policy Priority”. Metametrics, INC. 5 August 2014.

This is a paper from the Metametrics group to address “summer academic loss” and promotes summer reading programs as a way to combat this. It links summer reading programs at libraries particularly helpful when able to distribute books to low income families. And that summer reading can go beyond preventing “academic loss” and help kids surpass standards in educational outcome. This source is authoritative as is shows published research and its sources.

Part 2 — Public Writing

Dear Mayor Charlie Hales:

I write to you to further your awareness and support of our library Summer Reading Programs. I remember every year when school ended I was filled with anticipation of going to the library and getting new books to read for the summer. Little did I know that by being involved with my summer reading programs I was actually preparing for my future success. Programs that encourage summer reading tremendously help children stay on track with learning and in many cases advances them beyond the set standard. These programs benefit students from low-income families by providing access to books that many not be available at home and help them to feel supported by their community. As a member of our community leadership you can help! By securing funds for these programs we are ensuring a brighter future for our young students.

Summer reading programs give children access and encouragement to continue reading throughout the summer, a time when many kids fall behind academically. With the support of summer reading programs children can return to school in the fall with the best chance of success. Studies even show that the number of books a child reads plays a part in how well they succeed in school, noting that the more books read, the more they improved their skills in reading and writing. Another advantage with summer reading programs is that reading can expose children to many themes and ideas that they might not get from home. With book-talks and library staff to guild the way students can reach beyond their limits.

Multnomah County Libraries launched their summer reading program in 1912, and by 1997 they reached just over 5000 children. In 2013, with the help of private funding from the Library Foundation, the number of children reached raised to over 110,000. With financial support from our government even more children can be reached. This gives our community a strong foundation in academics, which leads to innovative and successful adults who will then add financial support back into our city! This summer I created a fundraiser for the Library Foundation and was able to raise over $800, and look forward to future opportunities to give back. I ask you to invest in library summer reading programs and give all children the skills they need to be successful.

Kind regards,

Ellen Berry


One comment

  1. maleka blake

    I enjoyed reading your writing! It is sad that people don’t feel the need to read as much anymore. I think that also has a lot to do with advancement in technology. I liked that you add statistics to include in your letter; which, shows the significant impact our libraries have on so many children! I would have like to hear more about your personal views on how reading has had a positive affect in your life. Maybe, even talk about how you still read to learn more. Reading is a very important part of our education and I hope you can get a response back from the Mayor’s office 🙂

    We should be putting more money into our youth and programs that benefit them!

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