Brunswick County Libraries Make Summer Reading Fun
School is out for kids in Brunswick County, but local librarians say that summer break shouldn’t mean a break from reading.
Lisa Milligan, librarian and Branch Manager at Leland Library, says it’s important for kids to continue reading during the summertime because it keeps their minds engaged. But she acknowledges that maintaining daily reading practice during busy summer months can be difficult. So she and her colleagues are gearing up to offer a reading incentive program, part of a statewide initiative called Libraries Rock 2018, that helps make summer reading for kids possible, and even fun. Morgan Benton, Library Assistant at Leland Library, will be heading up the series for the fourth year in a row.
Benton explains that the program is free of charge and open to Brunswick County residents of all ages. Each library branch in the county, with the exception of Southwest (which is in the midst of a move), will be participating. Every branch has their own schedule, which can be viewed on the County’s website.
Registration for Leland’s Libraries Rock will begin today (June 12th) and the 6-week program kicks off the following Tuesday. From 10 am to 5 pm each Tuesday from June 19th to July 16th, children and their parents are invited to visit Leland Library and navigate various activity stations, including reading stations, craft stations, and game stations. Afterward, they receive a ticket redeemable for an age-appropriate prize. In addition, kids are invited to check out books each week pertaining to particular themes or books that simply interest them, and then record the books they’ve read on a reading log. Upon completion of the program, kids turn in their reading logs and receive a free, high-quality book to take home with them and keep.
A special celebratory performance by a group called “Big Bang Boom” will take place at 3 pm on the last day of the program, Monday, July 23rd.
Funded by the Friends of the Library organization, Libraries Rock encourages kids to read and provides parents with the opportunity to bond with their kids through reading and playing games together. Even babies and kids who aren’t yet old enough to read are welcome to participate; books read by parents still count on the reading log.
Milligan says that parents can try to create their own incentives at home to promote summer—and all-year-round—reading. She advises parents to establish a routine wherein their children read for at least 20 minutes a day.
“Once they start reading and make it a habit, they’re going to look forward to it; they’re going to want to do it,” says Milligan.
But what about kids who are reluctant to read even during the school year? Milligan says that the most important thing parents can do is suggest and offer books on topics their kids are passionate about.
“Get a book they can relate to, that’s my philosophy,” she says. “If they’re interested in animals, get a book pertaining to animals. Sports? Get a book about sports. Get them hooked on something they like; they’ll take off with it.”
Benton adds that many parents tend to look down on certain kinds of books, such as graphic novels and series like, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” or “Dork Diaries,” which are popular among kids.
Benton says that instead of shutting down reading options like these, which be “discouraging” for kids, parents should try to allow their kids to read the books they’re drawn to.
“If they [do], it’ll open them up to reading other things,” she says. “Reading of any kind is beneficial for kids… they’re still learning words and physically reading something on a page, rather than staring a screen.”
And the sooner parents try to instill a love of reading in their kids, the better, Milligan says. “Starting young is key.” But it’s also never too late.
Milligan says the incentive program has brought in around 150 children per summer in the past, with an average of 80 kids in attendance each day. The most rewarding part of the program for her is hearing the positive feedback from both parents and kids. She loves hearing from parents that their child slept with their book the night before because they just couldn’t bear to put it away.
Benton truly enjoys witnessing kids embrace reading for the first time.
“I love when you see kids who weren’t super into reading at first but then you make a book recommendation once you’re able to get an idea of what that kid likes … and you see their face light up.”
Want more info on Leland Library’s program?
Call (910) 371-9442 or visit 487 Village Rd NE, Leland, NC 28451.
Registration is required and must be done in person.