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By Ashley Weibel

Longmont Library engages kids with summer programming


Photo by Ashley Weiber Kyla Beeler (six) reads a book to labrador retriever Grizz at the Longmont Library’s Dogs Enjoy Afternoon Reading, a monthly program aimed to improve children’s oral reading skills.

Though school is out for the summer, Longmont Library sees this as no cause for reading or learning to cease.

Longmont Public Library continues to engage children and families throughout the summer vacation with its Summer Reading Program and many other educational activities. This summer, the library is providing a variety of events for children ranging from infants to high school seniors through reading programs, STEM activities, concerts and more.

“The programs are designed around keeping kids engaged and active throughout the summer,” Elektra Greer, Head of Children’s and Teen Services at Longmont Library, explained. “Its important that while they’re being physically active, they’re also keeping themselves mentally and intellectually challenged.”

The library’s programming attempts to combat a phenomenon called “summer slide,” in which children, especially those from low-income families, experience a loss of the achievement gains made during the previous school year.

“Kids who are not involved in certain summer camp and other such activities can get behind their peers [academically],” Greer said. “When they go back to school, they have often slipped back a grade.”

Perhaps the Longmont Library’s most popular children’s activity is the Summer Reading Program, a nearly three-month long curriculum intended to motivate and reward kids for reading independently throughout the summer.

There are three different levels within the program – birth to four years, kindergarten to fifth grade and sixth to 12th grade — to ensure that each age level is targeted and that the needs of each child are met. Children in all age levels are prompted to read for a short time each day.

“There is a lot of hard research that’s been done on library programs and the American Library Association has found that it’s beneficial for children to read 20-30 minutes a day,” Greer explained.

Through the library’s Summer Reading Program, children are motivated to maintain and improve their reading skills throughout the summer break.

Within each age level, there are several levels of awards for children to earn, ranging from treasure chest prizes to a free ticket to Lakeside Amusement Park to a free book from the Friends of the Library.

Children and families especially love the Longmont Library’s Summer Reading Program since it provides kids with an informal, stress-free opportunity to keep up their reading skills.

“There’s definitely a different energy because [the kids] are not being assessed,” Greer said. “They can just come and share what they’ve learned.”

In addition to the Summer Reading Program, the library also offers a variety of other activities to school-age children throughout the summer such as Book Buddies, Chess Club, Dogs Enjoy Afternoon Reading and Music & Magic on the Patio.

“[Summer] should be a time of fun, so many libraries now provide not only reading programs, but also other enrichment activities,” Greer said.

As schools transition to incorporate more STEM learning in their curriculums, the library has paralleled this growth with increased programming in the sciences. The library’s large robotics program serves the community in this respect.

“In the last few years we’ve made additions that we’re going to continue to do which are focused more around science, technology and engineering” Greer said. “We really like to see what the community wants and serve them in that way.”

In order to best assist families of all backgrounds, Longmont Library offers free programming to children of all ages throughout the summer.

“We try to make sure there is at least one free option for each age level child a day,” Greer said. “Since many families cannot afford summer camp, its nice to have something that they can do.”


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