A Children’s Librarian from the was at Thursday morning to speak with students about the summer reading program taking place at the library starting almost immediately after school gets out.
Sarah Pardi was visiting the local elementary school Thursday for her last of several visits, which started last Friday, to meet with two classes of first-graders and later classes of fourth- and fifth-graders, reading with them, talking about the public library’s summer reading program and other things like how to get and use a library card.
“We’re trying to generate interest in our summer reading program, which is where the kids come and keep track of the books that they read and then earn prizes as they go throughout the summer,” Pardi said. “We a know a lot of these kids over at the library, but we try to also talk about using your library card and why it’s so great to have a library card and then all the fun things that we do throughout the summer, just to get them excited to come in when they’re done with school.”
Pardi said it’s “very important” for kids to read during the summer, and that if they don’t, they risk losing a lot of the reading skills they worked all school year to improve in a phenomenon she called “the summer slide.”
“Reading at least four books can prevent that loss during the summer so they’re ready to go when school starts again,” Pardi said. “And most of them who join the club will read way more than that. We’ve got big readers in Fort Lee.”
To join the summer reading club at the public library, kids simply need to sign up. They’re then given a journal to record all the books they read during the summer months and earn prizes as they do so to make it more fun.
“But it’s all independent; they get to choose whatever they like to read, whenever and how much so it’s all up to them, which is the nice part about it,” Pardi said. “Any type of book they want to read, we don’t give them any rules, really.”
She said the summer reading program does have a theme every year though, and that this year’s theme is “Dream Big, Read!”—A theme that includes books about topics like actual dreaming, nighttime, the stars and the moon, nocturnal animals and “spooky things” for older kids.
“That’s just another fun thing that we do to make the club more exciting every year,” Pardi said of the idea behind having a theme. “So we do have a suggested list that we give them, but whatever they want to read during the summer is okay for the reading club.”
She added, “We just want them to read.”
On Thursday morning, Pardi, who ended up speaking to every class in the school about the summer reading program over the past week, gave out brochures for kids to bring home to their parents, including a complete rundown of summer events for children at the library, and “Dream Big, Read!” bookmarks.
Noting that she recognized several faces Thursday morning, she told the students, “I want to get to know all of your faces this summer.”
“You can come visit me in the library, and I’ll read with you,” she told them before reading with several children from a book called “You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Scary Tales to Read Together” by Mary Ann Hoberman.
The Bergen County Cooperative Library System (BCCLS) website has links for kids and teens, as well as a new system enabling older kids to borrow e-books. Children or their parents can also order books through the system and have them sent to the library in Fort Lee if they don’t have them in their collection.
The summer reading club at the Fort Lee Public Library starts June 25 and runs through Aug. 17.