For many children, the end of the school year and the beginning of the summer season translates into three months of no reading, no writing and no arithmetic. But for Linda Keane, children’s librarian at Asbury Park Library, summer break shouldn’t represent a book-free one. She believes quite the contrary and supports “the time in which kids get the chance to fall in love with reading.”
“Summer vacation is when children have this chance. Studies have shown that children who are allowed to choose books they really like are the ones who both read the most and are the best readers. It stands to reason that if they are allowed to pursue their own interests they will want to read and will eventually become lifelong readers and informed citizens,” Keane said.
She continued, “In addition to supporting the schools by having as many of the titles for their summer reading requirements as possible, I also encourage a pressure-free type of reading that leads to a passion for it. I believe that this will translate into success in school as well. Children who are comfortable with print will not be intimidated by textbooks in the classroom. And that is probably half the battle that teachers face. Summer reading gives kids the chance to learn that books are their friends and that they can escape to a better, happier place or even better they learn that they are not alone with any particular difficulties they may have.”
The Asbury Park Library’s summer reading program begins July 6 and ends July 31. Registration starts June 18. Applications can be picked up at the library and the first 50 applicants will receive an official NBA t-shirt or notepad/sports bottle. The registration packet includes freebies such as stickers, coloring posters, Applebee’s certificates and a Barnes and Noble free book giveaway. Keane said that this year what is new to the program is the opportunity for kids to be able to earn raffle tickets for attending story time, crafts, special programs and checking out books.
Keane added that last year’s summer reading program had approximately 50 participants and she is always hopeful more will join the program each year. This year’s theme is “Every Hero Has a Story.”
“Children entering kindergarten through fifth grade are eligible for the program. They should have a library card as a resident or can get a subscription for $25.00. The summer reading program is one of our biggest activities,” she said.
The end-of-the-year summer reading pizza party will take place on July 31 at 2pm. Keane said the party will include reading certificates, a short storytime, and a prizes raffle. This year there will be two grand prizes — two $50 gift certificates to Walmart.
Other library programs for the summer include: Storytime in English, Monday – Saturday at 1pm; Storytime in Spanish, Monday and Friday at 2 pm; crafts on Saturday afternoons at 2 pm, pre-registration required and a nature program, Friday July 17 at 2 pm.
The Asbury Park Public Library, 500 First Avenue, is open Monday through Saturday noon to 5pm. Call the library at 732-774-4221 for more information or to pre-register for a program.