In Santa Monica, children are reading more than ever. At the Santa Monica Public Library, its “Fizz, Boom, READ” (for children) and “Spark a Reaction” (for teens) summer reading themes helped the reading stats explode.
The library’s 2014 summer reading program for babies through teenagers saw an amazing increase over last year of 20 percent (786 more signups), with more than 4,800 children and teens participating.
For the first time ever, the library’s Independent Reader Club (for grades 1-5) exceeded 2,000 participants. The Teen Club (for grades 6 – 12) exceeded 1,000 participants for the first time. The Montana Branch exceeded 1,000 for the first time, as did the brand new Pico Branch, during its very first summer.
The Friends of the Santa Monica Public Library sponsored printed materials, programs and prizes for the 10-week program, which is designed to help children and teens maintain and increase literacy skills during the summer months while on their school break.
The library offered 370 story times and reading-related programs during the summer, with 14,326 in attendance. Children and teens also wrote 533 book reviews as a result of the program, which were posted for other students to read and get recommendations on what to read next.
This summer’s reading program once again included our “Baby & Me” club, which engages parents and their babies by providing them with a free board book to add to their baby’s library and get a head start on literacy.
Teen participation was stronger than ever, and those who completed the program (reading 30 hours or more) attended an end-of-the-summer pizza party to celebrate their achievements.
Other teen programs included a Teen Writers’ Workshop, in which teen writers met for six sessions over two weeks with local award-winning authors.
In addition, 535 free copies of David Levithan’s Every Day, the Samohi summer reading book selection, were given out to Samohi students. This book giveaway was sponsored by the Santa Monica Kiwanis Club.
According to the American Library Association, numerous studies show that summer reading programs help ensure that children retain reading and learning skills over the summer.
Most of all, however, summer reading programs are geared for reading for the fun of it! Study after study has shown that reading for pleasure (not assigned reading) is the best incentive to encourage lifelong learning. Literacy increases when kids and teens read whatever they choose.
After 10 weeks, with more than 4,800 children and teens participating, it’s safe to say the Santa Monica Public Library is helping increase the literacy of our community’s kids and teens!
For more information about free library programs, visit smpl.org or call the Youth Services Department at 310.458.8621.