Oh What Fun It Is To Read! (by Crystal Fiederl)

Over the years we all create and go through a routine that just becomes second nature. Something along the lines of wake up, eat breakfast, work our 8-hour day, and then head home. This used to be me as well, like many others. Over the past two years I have added something else into my routine, volunteering. I have come to enjoy my time volunteering so much that it has become part of my weekly routine. I think that I would be lost and confused if I had to stop now. You may think this sounds crazy, but after you make a strong connection to something, it is hard to want to give that up. I have had the opportunity to volunteer for a few different organizations and two of those top my list as my favorite. The first being the Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the second being the Beaverton City Library.

When you decide that you want to volunteer at the Beaverton City Library you must commit to at least one two hour shift a week for a minimum of three months. Now of course if you end up hating what you are doing, no one is going to stop you from quitting, but they just like to have some kind of commitment. The beginning process and commitment is done through the awesome volunteer coordinator, Jennifer. After my time with Jennifer I decided I would volunteer on Tuesdays doing the hold reports in the children’s section. (Hold reports are simply a list of books and multimedia that library patrons would like to check out. You find the media on the shelf which gets put in a separate section for the person who would like the item to obtain easier.) After a few weeks of doing the hold reports, I started helping out with other children’s programs that the library put on. These included a range of programs from bubbleogy to Lego building. One of the biggest programs the library puts on each year is the summer reading program.

“This program is very beneficial to children, because a child can lose up to a month of education from not reading all summer,” Abigail Elder, Library Director (Elder, Abigail). With this program being so important to children, it is important to get the word out and make sure they do not miss out on the opportunity. Along with getting children involved, as you could imagine this program takes a lot to put on each year. To put this in some perspective in 2014 there were 7,283 children and teens that signed up for the reading program and in 2015 they had 8,613 children and teens sign up (Johnson, Jennifer). That is about a 15% increase each year. In two hours I can put together about 110 packets, so it usually takes around a month with many hours put in from all volunteers to get all the packets made.

After the initial sign up, the commitment to read must be made, and this where the big problem lies. With so many children and teens signing up, only a little over half of them actually complete the program (roughly 55% of children and 60% of teens) (Johnson, Jennifer). So the big question is, how do we get children involved in the library and keep them engaged in the activities like the summer reading program?

One of the biggest suggestions that is made is actually getting the parents involved and having them read aloud to their children. Scholastic publishing company produces a report called “Kids and Family Reading Report” each year since 2006. 60% of parents with children 0-5 year of age were recommended to read aloud to them from birth. From that statistic about 50% of children 0-5 are being read to 5-7 days a week. For kids ranging in ages 6-17, an incredible 83% really enjoy being read aloud to. For the children who no longer are being read aloud 40% wish their parents continued as they got older (Scholastic/ReadAloud).

Tying these statistics back to our libraries, the summer reading program encourages this behavior of parents reading to their children. There are children who do not know how to read very well or not at all and this where parents get to step in. Not only does the child reading the book count towards the goal of the summer reading program, but parents reading to their children count too! With that being said, the 40% statistic of children who wish the reading time with their parents continued could be lowered significantly.

The next factor to keep children engaged in reading is letting them choose the genre of books they are interested in. 91% of children pulled in the “Kids and Family Reading Report” said their favorite book is one that were able to choose themselves. Children want to read books that are relatable, funny, or have a problem that needs solving. With 75% of these children’s parents saying they wish their children read more books, these simple solutions can get the job done (Scholastic.com/KeyFindings).

To help children continue on their path to success they need help along the way. That help comes from a variety of different places and one of them being the library. You could be one of those people who helps children find their next favorite book or even help get them started on the prize awarding summer reading program. The library always needs help with so many program and if you would like to be a part of this awesome team check out their site to get the fun started (http://www.beavertonlibrary.org/index.aspx?NID=98)! I hope to see you there and we can work together to increase next year’s summer reading program by another 15%!





Works Cited


Elder, Abigail. “Library Director.” Personal interview. 25 May 2016.


Johnson, Jennifer. “Volunteer Coordinator.” E-mail interview. 31 May 2016.


Rich, Motoko. “Study Finds Reading to Children of All Ages Grooms Them to Read More on      Their Own.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 07 Jan. 2015. Web. 01 June            2016. <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/08/us/study-finds-reading-to-children-of-all-ages-grooms-them-to-read-more-on-their-own.html&gt;.



“Kids and Family Reading Report.” Scholastic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 June 2016.            <http://www.scholastic.com/readingreport/key-findings.htm&gt;.


“Kids and Family Reading Report.” Scholastic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 June 2016.            <http://www.scholastic.com/readingreport/downloads.htm&gt;.






Elder, Abigail. “Library Director.” Personal interview. 25 May 2016.

Johnson, Jennifer. “Volunteer Coordinator.” E-mail interview. 31 May 2016.


Reading is something that everyone knows about it, thinks about doing it, but then something else comes along and we end up passing up the opportunity. After talking with the Beaverton City Library’s director and volunteer manager, I realized this act of passing up reading needs to stop, and especially for children. Both of these ladies have spent much of their lives either volunteering or working for a library system, so I knew they would be a great place to start and get some answers as to how we can make a difference in reading programs. After interviewing them I learned some very interesting statistics about the summer reading program that were surprisingly lower than I expected.


“Kids and Family Reading Report.” Scholastic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 June 2016.            <http://www.scholastic.com/readingreport/downloads.htm&gt;.


Later that I week I was thinking about how I used to read as a child, and that it started out with my parents reading to me. I was curious if that is still a big thing for parents to do. Well the Scholastic report that is put out showed that not only do parent still do it, but a lot children wish their parents never stopped as they got older. This got me thinking about the number of kids who participate in the summer reading programs, put on by libraries, and how reading to your children could help so much.


“Kids and Family Reading Report.” Scholastic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 June 2016.            <http://www.scholastic.com/readingreport/key-findings.htm&gt;.


Then I started looking at reading habits that children have and found a great study that is done each year by one of the largest children’s publishing companies. This study gave great detail about different age groups of children who read not just because they have to, but because they want to as well. This study shed some great light on some very simple things everyone can do to help children become more invested readers.




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