Summer reading program opens first chapter Thursday

At the conclusion of the annual Dillon Public Library Summer Reading Program, the children enrolled in the educational experience stage a parade and then a party to celebrate the conclusion of the event. The photo above shows the fun at last year’s finale. M.P. Regan photo


Children benefit greatly from continuing to read after their school classes discontinue for the summer. And the Dillon Public Library intends to keep doing whatever it can to help keep local kids keep hitting the books when school’s out and outdoor fun beckons.

That “whatever” this summer will include plenty of outdoor fun as part of the 2014 version of the Dillon Public Library’s popular and traditional Summer Reading Program, which this year revolves around the theme of “Fizz, Boom, Read!”

“It’s a science theme,” explained Dillon Public Library Director Marie Habener, of the Summer Reading Program, which runs for eight weeks, starting Thursday at ..time.. with Boom the Magic of Rhythm and Drumming.

“There’s been recent stories in the national news about how low U.S. students test scores are getting in science, so we wanted to design a program to get children involved with fun science activities and to do more science-related reading over the summer.”

That encouragement will come through a wide array of free, engaging and entertaining activities, including film screenings, pop-up books, a presentation on extreme weather, a magic show, a musical comedy puppet show, a volcano formation simulation and the construction of a two-story geyser on the Library lawn, along with the annual grand finale parade and carnival.

The 2014 Summer Reading Program will present special activities every Thursday for two months (see schedule below), four film showings at the Depot Theatre in Dillon, bedtime stories on the Library lawn, and other events designed to help kids find their way to books to avoid suffering the Summer Slide Phenomenon. 

“It’s a well-known problem to educators that when kids come back to school in the fall they don’t seem to retain all that they learned during the previous school year—unless they’ve been reading over the summer,” said Habener, citing efforts to reverse the Summer Slide Phenomenon launched in recent years by Montana Superintendent of Schools Denise Juneau. 

“Children who keep reading over the summer pretty much start back up at school in the fall where they left off in the spring. But children who haven’t been reading over the summer take something like three weeks to catch back up to where they were when school let out.”

The Summer Slide gap can increase over the years, according to Juneau, but reading just a half dozen books over the summer can keep that gap from ever opening for an established young reader.

Habener said the Dillon Library’s Summer Reading Program inspires kids to pick up books by letting them explore kid-friendly subjects in fun ways.


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