Curb the ‘summer slide’ with children’s programs

The “summer slide” is here! According to Reading is Fundamental (www.rif.org), “Something is waiting for many children each summer and their parents don’t even know it’s out there. It’s called the ‘summer slide,’ and it describes what happens when young minds sit idle for three months.

“As parents approach the summer break, many are thinking about the family vacation, trips to the pool, how to keep children engaged in activities at home, the abrupt changes to everyone’s schedule – and how to juggle it all. What they might not be focusing on is how much educational ground their children could lose during the three-month break from school, particularly when it comes to

reading.”

Experts agree that children who read during the summer gain reading skills, while those who do not often slide backward. According to the authors of a report from the National Summer Learning Association, “A conservative estimate of lost instructional time is approximately two months or roughly 22 percent of the school year… It’s common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer. That month of re-teaching eliminates a month that could have been spent on teaching new information and skills.”

“Parents who are eager to curb the ‘summer slide’ can register their children for children’s summer programs at the Philippi Public Library,” ‘Director Judy Buckner Larry said.

The library is offering “Fizz, Boom, Read!” Summer Reading Camp for registered children 3 through 12, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Mondays through Fridays from July 7-25. A Summer Feeding Program will be offered on those same days from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and “Dog Tales – Reading to Mountaineer Therapy Dogs” will be from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. July 12.

The Summer Feeding Program offers a free nutritional lunch provided by North Central West Virginia Community Action and is for campers and community children ages 1 through 18.

“No registration is required for the lunch and the children do not have to be camp participants to receive a lunch,” said Larry.

The library is also hosting “Dog Tales – Reading to Mountaineer Therapy Dogs,” a unique children’s literacy program for school-aged children that pairs the children with the dogs so children can read to them.

Brenda Lee, Emmitt, Molly and Strawberry are the much-loved Mountaineer Therapy Dogs who visit the Philippi Public Library from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month.

“These programs are very successful,” said Barbara Higgins, who owns Brenda Lee, a toy poodle. “Everyone loves interacting with the therapy dogs, and children who read to them thoroughly enjoy and benefit from the experience.”

The registered and insured therapy dogs are non-judgmental friends who patiently encourage children to relax, sound out words and practice reading at a comfortable pace. Many children have benefited from improvement in reading and social skills.

Other Mountaineer Therapy Dogs owners include Nicole Klee and Rebecca Conrad.

Klee said, “The program has a calming effect on children and boosts their self-confidence.” Klee, Higgins and Conrad stay by their dogs and offer help to the children reading if they seek it.

Space is limited for the “Dog Tales” program and registration and parental permission are required. For more information about “Dog Tales,” the “Fizz, Boom, Read!” Summer Reading Camps or the Children’s Summer Feeding Program, call 304-457-3495 or stop by the library.