Editorial: Take advantage of area libraries’ summer reading programs

Jun. 03, 2013 @ 11:44 PM

School is out, and your children are facing more thanm two months without a classroom or educational structure. Do you really want your kids idling away the summer without honing their mental skills? If you agree that’s a bad idea, then consider enrolling them in a library summer reading program.

The Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevier County library systems prepare for these summer programs for weeks, planning activities that are fun while encouraging children to read for pleasure and be rewarded when they do.

Any good athlete will tell you that they just practice year-round to be good and get better. A layoff for any reason erodes skills and requires extra practice to catch up to where they were before the layoff. That’s why athletes who are injured need so much time to recover; it’s not just coming back from the injury; it’s regaining those skills that made them great to start with.

The same is true for children’s minds. When kids leave the classroom for the last time at the end of the school term, teachers know that many of them won’t lift a book or read for fun until they come back in August. That requires far too much review time at the start of the new school term. A library summer reading program keeps those cognitive parts of the brain busy and functioning. The summer reading programs also provide structure and a safe environment for kids to enjoy their break time.

The Sevier County Public Library System, which includes King Family, Seymour and Kodak locations, kicks off its summer reading program with a day of activities on Wednesday. There will be weekly programs in June and July at all three branches. The program is themed and involves all ages, from babies to teens to adults. The kickoff will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday at King Family Library in Sevierville.

Sign-up will be for all ages that day, and a themed series of rooms and activities will be featured.

Gatlinburg’s Anna Porter Public Library and Pigeon Forge Public Library also plan summer reading programs as well. Check in with your community library for details. Keep those kids reading during their break.