The Union County Carnegie Library’s Summer Reading program begins Monday and every child in Union County should participate. The program encourages children to maintain and improve their reading skills during the summer. All too often at least some of what children learn one school year is lost over the course of the summer. Instead of immediately building on what they learned the previous year, students must spend part of the new school year re-learning the lessons and re-gaining the skills they lost while on vacation.
There should never be a vacation from learning, especially for the young, whose minds are well-suited for the absorption of information and gaining an understanding of its use. Instead of seeing summer as an escape from the classroom, children should be encouraged to view it as an opportunity for a different kind of learning experience that will continue to enrich their lives and bring an added dimension to their vacation experience.
The Union County School District distribted materials to be used as part of the program and is offering rewards for the most books read during the summer. I’m all for rewards, but the greatest reward they can receive is in reading itself.
I know from personal experience that reading stimulates the mind and fires the imagination. Each level of reading I mastered deepened my love of the written word, both as a consumer and a producer. It changed my life, setting me on the path that led to my job at The Union Daily Times.
Reading can change lives for the better. The ability to read gives you access to information, ideas, experiences, flights of fancy and imagination that those who don’t read can never grasp. The ability to read is one of those things that separate us from the beasts of the field and allows us to view life as something more than just a struggle for survival. It allows to appreciate the beauty of the world around us and the preciousness of life.
The school district’s involvement in the Summer Reading program is a reminder of the symbiotic relationship between libraries and schools. Both are repositories of knowledge passed down from generation to generation. The difference is that in school we learn from teachers, following a prescribed curriculum and using the required materials. In the library, we are our own teachers, choosing the curriculum that we will study and selecting the materials that will allow us to master it. Schools and libraries reinforce one another with each word learned, each book completed and each course mastered a building block in the edifice of our individual learning processes.
The Summer Reading program is a reminder of the role libraries play as centers of culture. The library will offer a number of other events featuring poetry, art, music, storytelling and movies, all designed to fire children’s imaginations and stoke their creativity.
There’s a lot to choose from this summer at Carnegie. You and your child should choose to take advantage of as many of its offerings as possible. What you should not do is make your summer a reading-free zone. A summer without reading is a summer wasted.