As all students and parents know, May marks the last month of the school year. The schools in the Montrose County School District will get out on May 22. This is an exciting time for local families, children, and the library! When it comes time for parents and children to plan their summer activities, it is important to remember the summer vacation is an excellent time for children to read and engage in our numerous Summer Reading Programs. We encourage you to use our resources to the fullest.

Students who do not read enough over the summer are at risk of falling behind their peers academically. On average, children lose two to three months of reading skills during the summer, and that loss tends to compile over their academic careers (the Northwest Evaluation Association described that in their article “Summer Learning Loss: What We Know and What We’re Learning”).

Young children, who will start school in the fall, need experience with books and early literacy skills to advance in their new academic settings and keep up with many of their peers. High school graduates starting college in the fall will need to maintain and improve their reading stamina and comprehension skills to do well in their upcoming classes.

The Summer Reading Program (SRP) will encourage children and teens to keep track of how many books they read so they might win prizes at the end of the events. Those prizes are far from the most valuable outcomes of reading over the summer.

The SRP will specifically include reading challenges for children and teens. The library will soon offer numerous programs, as described in our Summer Reading Program newsletter, to help children of all ages enjoy our resources, encourage them to read over this summer break, and develop various forms of literacy. Two of the kinds of literacy our programs help youth develop are early literacy and disciplinary literacy. Early literacy is what children know about communication, reading, and writing before they can read and write. Disciplinary literacy relates to student’s reading, writing, and critical thinking skills in different disciplines. Those definitions are provided by the The Edvocate’s article titled “What are the 13 Types of Literacy?”

Here are just a few of the children’s programs our library will offer as part of our SRP. Families could bring their young children through a story walk at the botanical gardens to bond and develop early literacy. Children of all ages could develop disciplinary literacy through the STEMpunk’d event: May the Force (of static electricity) Be With You.

Older children could develop disciplinary literacy by learning how to build solar ovens in STREAM. Our fun teen programs will include Cubeecraft, Montrose Science Theater, and Space Hoopla. Those programs will give teens opportunities to have fun, practice logical and creative skills individually and in a group, and practice collaborating in a group.

The most valuable outcomes are maintaining and improving literacy. We hope that each child realizes how fun it can be to read a good book…that can be addictive in a very good way. A life-long love of learning can fuel academic achievement, a vivid imagination, and literary adventures for years to come.

This summer break will provide many students with much more free time to hang out with friends, enjoy community events, invest in improving themselves, and simply have fun! We encourage you to spend some of your time exploring and enjoying our programs at the library and, very importantly, reading.

Taylor Evans is an Adult Services Librarian at the Montrose Regional Library.

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