By Rhonda Gould
Get ready to FIZZ BOOM READ at area public libraries this summer. Public libraries in the South Sound are gearing up for summer reading programs for kids of all ages, teens, and adults. The Pierce County Library System libraries, Puyallup Public Library, and Tacoma Public Library are all members of the Collaborative Summer Reading Program, a national grassroots organization devoted to the creation of affordable summer reading program materials. This year’s Fizz Boom Read early literacy and children’s theme, the teen Spark a Reaction theme, and adult Literary Elements theme features age appropriate science and technology programs and activities.
According to Judy Nelson, the Customer Services Manager for Youth Services and Outreach at the Pierce County Library System, this year’s Fizz Boom Read program offers over 300 free programs during the eight-week program along with a wide selection of fun reading materials for self-selection. Nelson states, “Programs at the branch libraries range from science magic to robotics. Other elements of the program include the tracking of reading in 20-minute increments and specific activities to report out on that utilize the scientific methods of observation and exploration. Children can earn prizes for reading and enter drawings to win a free science tool kit.”
Fizz Boom Read is free and available for every family in Pierce County at their eighteen branch locations and online at PCLS Summer Reading. Their program begins June 21 and runs through August 31.
Research shows that youth who read for fun during the summer months maintain and even build stronger literacy skills than those who do not. The National Summer Learning Association estimates that the “summer slide” accounts for two months worth of learning loss by students who do not actively engage in learning opportunities over the summer. Judy Nelson says that experiences such as attending camp or visiting the zoo or a museum helps kids continue to learn and expand their knowledge base, and the library provides a wide variety of programs at no cost.
“From my perspective, public libraries would probably not be able to stay open in the summer were it not for summer reading,” agrees Puyallup Public Library Director, Tim Wadham. “I certainly sell summer reading to adults on the basis that research shows that kids who spend time reading during the summer are better prepared when they go back to school. I sell it to kids by saying that it gives them a chance to read whatever they please, and not just what is assigned for school. I think that’s one of the most important things about it—reminding kids that you can actually read for pleasure.”
Bonnie Svitavsky, Puyallup’s Young Adult Librarian, has the same philosophy. She says, “Summer reading isn’t just for young kids – teens benefit from it too! Teens can also suffer from the summer slide, and encouraging them to read and offering attainable goals is a great way to combat learning loss. But more than that, a summer reading program is about making reading – and the library – fun! Instead of required reading, teens can meet program goals by reading books, comics, magazines, audiobooks, and websites. Programs aimed specifically at teens make them feel welcome at the library and can introduce them to all the services the library offers.”
This year, the Puyallup Public Library has partnered with the Tacoma Rainiers baseball team to promote summer reading. Participants who complete the program will earn a ticket for the Puyallup Public Library night at the August 20 Rainiers game. This is the first year that the library is offering online registration for participants. Information about the programs for children, teens, and adults can be found at Puyallup Public Library Summer Reading Program.
The Tacoma Public Library has a website devoted to their summer reading club activities and events with three separate sections for children, teens, and adults at Tacoma Public Library Summer Reading Club. Registration is online for participants of all ages. Programs include puppet shows, musicians, magicians, Pacific Science Center experiments, anime club, a voice-over workshop, retro gaming for adults, and much more. Teens and adults can review books and post them online. Registration has already begun. Report on reading through August 9.
The next time you go to the public library, check out the Fizz Boom Read summer reading program as well as your books for free and engaging entertainment for the whole family.
All photos courtesy Katy Levesque/Puyallup Public Library.