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A Universe of Stories: Summer Reading Program Begins at Local Libraries

Waseca-Le Sueur Regional Library System will be holding its annual summer reading program for kids and teens starting in June. The program is designed to encourage kids to read over the summer so they don’t lose the reading skills they learned over the school year. Libraries also hold weekly events with performers, games, and hands-on activities. The theme this year is titled A Universe of Stories to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s moon landing.

If children do not have access to books and do not read, students must spend a great deal of the next school year catching back up to previous skill levels and will likely never catch up to their peers. “[The summer slide] accounts for about 80% of the reading gap between low- and middle-income families—three years by the end of eighth grade, according to University of Tennessee researchers Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen. In part, the reason for this is lower-income kids’ limited access to books—in their homes, libraries, or bookstores—during the summer, the scholars have found. By the end of high school, the gap is typically four years.” –School Library Journal

“Reading is an essential life skill that helps students learn in all subject areas and our libraries take on the mission of keeping kids engaged, especially over the summer,” stated Library System Director Stacy Lienemann. “We award kids with prizes for keeping up with their reading over the summer. Kids participate in a lot of activities over the summer—we draw their attention to the joys of reading and pursuing your passions.” See your local library for more details.

The libraries are also partnering with Mayo Clinic Health System to promote Mayo’s Slim Your Screen Time program in June and July. Community members play, explore, and connect by completing 30 of Mayo’s 130 challenges and recording them on a game board. Groups, individuals, and families can participate. Go to Mayo Clinic’s Slim Your Screen Time website to learn more or stop by your local library and knock off the Visit the Library Challenge right away.

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