Mountlake Terrace Library Blog

Friday, September 16, 2011

The End of Summer

Sigh, goodbye summer.

Since my husband managed to lock himself in a BC ferry restroom and couldn’t get out, this is a good time to reflect on what went right and what went wrong over the summer.

Let’s get back to that incident with my husband on the BC ferry.

We were in the “quiet” room on the BC ferry from Victoria. The one restroom was set up to help people with disabilities, so it involved pushing a button to get in, even though the door had a handle. It took me a minute to figure that out. What I didn’t realize was that I had to push a button inside the restroom to lock the door. Fortunately no one came in. But while there, I did figure out that I also needed to push a button to get out.

Next, enter my husband. He made it in alright, but after a short period of time, a tentative rattling of a door handle pierced the quiet of the room, followed by a light tapping on the door. The tapping became more and more insistent. When I heard the strained yelp, I figured I had better take action.

So I nonchalantly meandered over to the door to talk my husband down from the ledge…er, out of the restroom, all the while pretending I was heading to refill my coffee cup.

“The big button over by the toilet. Push it,” I whispered into the door. I felt like I was in a spy movie. When he came out, the others in the room practically broke out into applause.

So to avoid similar embarrassment, here’s what I learned.

When entering an unfamiliar restroom, before locking the door, make sure you know how to get out.

On a more positive note, the end of summer also means the end of the library’s Summer Reading Program. And this was definitely something that went right!

All of the libraries in the Sno-Isle Libraries family participated and provided activities and incentives to keep kids reading throughout the summer.

Based on the findings of a recent three-year study by Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library Information Studies, it was discovered that students who participate in their local library’s summer reading program significantly improve their reading skills – in fact they found that kids who participated were 52 Lexile points ahead of their peers who didn’t. Also participation helped kids retain their learning during the summer months.

This is not news to us librarians who have participated in summer reading programs for years.

A landmark 1978 study had already determined that children who read at least six books during the summer maintained or improved their reading skills while kids who didn’t read at all saw their skills slip by as much as an entire grade level. And the time spent reading improved vocabulary test scores as well.

A 1982 study confirmed those findings when it found that by the end of 5th grade, students who didn’t read during the summer lagged two years behind their classmates who had read, and that summer learning loss accounted for most of the achievement gap between students who lived in poverty and those who didn’t.

So that is the practical side of children and teens participating in Summer Reading.

But there are other benefits as well. It’s fun!

This summer, children and their families attended weekly programs – everything from the Magic Tree House to learning about science to a play presentation of “The Emperor and the Nightingale.”

Children entered drawings and won bikes (thanks to the Mountlake Terrace Masons)

and cookies the size of their heads.

They marched with their library in a parade. Second and third graders who were reluctant readers worked with teens to learn to enjoy reading in the Book Buddies Program. Teens submitted book reviews online and watched movies at the library. Adults participated, too, and “best” reviews won a Nook Reader.

Here at the Mountlake Terrace Library, 357 children from 63 different area schools signed up for Summer Reading and 101 read 10 books or more.

But just because Summer Reading is over, that doesn’t mean the fun and adventures at the library end.

Here is just a sample of what is happening this fall:

Computer classes
Citizenship classes
Weekly baby and family story times where parents can learn skills needed to get their children ready to succeed in kindergarten
“Reading with Rover,” - children can practice their reading with an attentive and quiet canine

“Teen Wednesdays,” - teens can gather to play games and watch movies

“Book a Librarian :” You can make an appointment with a librarian to get help with the computer or research project
“Saturdays at the Library-There’s Always Something Going On!” - special events, such as learning how to Travel Journal or teens helping seniors one on one with how to email, Skype, use Facebook or upload photos to their computer, sponsored by the Friends of the Mountlake Terrace Library
Family Night at the Library, where a variety of activities are offered: Lego challenges, stories, etc.

The Foodie and and Second Tuesday Book Groups lure adults with yummy food and great books to share.

Summer is over, but your library is still there for you offering you reading adventures, opportunities to learn something new and just plain fun!

But don’t spoil your fun. Remember what I said about restrooms. Plan ahead!

How was your summer?

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