Summer reading provides skills


Summer on the Palouse is my favorite season. It means longer days, outdoor fun with neighborhood friends, a break from the hard work of school, and of course, the summer reading program.

Summer reading can provide tremendous opportunities for kids to practice their reading. Research has proven that summer reading supports skill gains in a typical year, and its absence leads to widening skill gaps. This summer reading takes on even more importance for kids who experienced a disrupted academic year because of COVID-19. Neill Public Library is here to help support strong literacy skills by providing a fun interactive summer reading program, a diverse selection of books to borrow, and literacy reference support.

Our summer reading program has changed drastically this year. However, it still reflects our dedication to providing families access to quality programming and creating a community encouraging a love of reading. Our youth have already logged more than 1,000 hours of reading in the first two weeks of the program.

Youngsters will be able to register and track their summer reading online through Beanstack. Every hour they spend reading, listening to an audiobook or are read aloud to counts for 1 raffle ticket. Youth can read or listen to any book of their choice and see their reading progress at any time. Track progress on the go, and remember that audiobooks on long road trips count. The more time reading, the more raffle tickets earned; raffle prize drawings are every Friday. Register online at Registration for classes and groups are available too.

More than 1,500 grab-and-go activity bags will be provided during our summer reading program. Every week there will be a new storytime, STEAM, and teen activity bags. Our grab-and-go activities for July include candy making, slime, animal crafts, book art, puppet theaters and more. The week of July 26, we are partnering with The Pullman Art Car to provide grab-and-go art activities once again.

Enjoy storytime online every Monday and special celebrity online guest readers every Tuesday and Thursday. All online storytimes will begin at 10 a.m. on the city of Pullman’s YouTube channel.

And mark your calendars for our upcoming July Activity Challenges: July 14 — virtual cooking class by Kids Table; July 20 — virtual yoga from Aloft Studios; July 26 — book scavenger hunt week begins.

Our summer reading program will end with a book scavenger hunt. The bike bookmobile is back, and books will be hidden across Pullman from July 26-30. Find a book by Neill Public Library and be entered to win our grand prize finale raffle basket. The raffle drawing will be July 30. All programs are free to the public, thanks to generous support from the Friends of Neill Public Library. For more details, visit our website or follow us on Facebook.

Summer reading is critical for students to retain knowledge and skills learned in the previous school year and provides opportunities for families and communities to play and read together. Let’s encourage our youth to enjoy reading this summer, experience the confidence of reading success, and make reading a lifelong habit.

Ritter works in youth services at Neill Public Library in Pullman.

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