Avoid Summer Slide: Rock it with free prizes and fun events at the library this summer

Stockbridge Library Assistant Debbie Prigge engages students during a Summer Reading Welcome Week visit.

Article and photos by Paul Crandall

Class visits in early June brought nearly 300 kindergarten through 4thgrade students to the Stockbridge Library of Capital Area District Libraries (CADL.) They heard stories, engaged in word games, puzzles, scavenger hunts and other activities, and probably most importantly, learned about summer reading at the library.

Summer Reading at CADL means earning free prizes for reading – a program available to everyone, from preschoolers to adults. This year’s program, themed “Libraries Rock!,” includes prizes ranging from rubber ducks, squirt toys and board books for pre-readers to earbuds, spinning tops, chocolate and coupons for pie, depending on age group. Grand Prize drawings include a four-pack of tickets to see School of Rock: The Musical at Wharton Center.

CADL – Stockbridge is also featuring a slew of events this summer matching a variety of ages and interests. For families with young children, these include visits from The Storytellers (June 20), Acting Up Theatre Company (June 27), Cooperfly Puppets (July 11), Howell Nature Center (July 18), Gemini (July 25), Magician Baffling Bill (Aug.1) and more. Teens may wish to attend Minecraft (June 26) or string art (July 12)  events, or arts & crafts with Colleen (July 19 & 26 and Aug.2). Adults will want to check out The Nature of Chocolate with Laurel Zoet (July 19) or Bats of Michigan, presented by the Organization for Bat Conservation (July 26).

Behind all this fun lies a serious purpose, said CADL Youth Services Coordinator Marisela Garza.

“One of our goals every summer is to help prevent a phenomenon known as ‘summer slide,’” Garza posted on a recent CADL blog. “Educators use that term to describe the loss of literacy skills for those who don’t read when school is out. The effects are cumulative, so that by the end of fifth grade, it can leave some students nearly three years behind their peers.”

Garza notes that efforts to fight summer slide can have long-reaching effects on school success. After reviewing hundreds of studies, the National Reading Panelconcluded, “the more children read, the better their fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.”

Educators use the term summer slide to describe the loss of literacy skills for those who don’t read when school is out. The effects are cumulative, so by the end of fifth grade, some students can be nearly three years behind their peers.

You can sign up for Summer Reading and start earning your free prizes as well as find a detailed schedule of events for Stockbridge and other CADL libraries by visiting the CADL website: www.cadl.org. Listings for Stockbridge events are also found in this newspaper’s online and print Community Calendar.

So sign up, grab a book, and enjoy the summer!

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