Just imagine thousands of children across Halifax Regional Municipality getting excited about reading over the summer.
The TD Summer Reading Club launches this week, with kickoff parties planned across all Halifax Public Libraries branches. Last summer, more than 6,500 participants read almost 95,000 books in the most successful year for this free program to date.
One of the longest-running programs at the libraries, the TD Summer Reading Club is an incentive-based initiative that intends to keep children’s literacy skills sharp over the summer and encourages children aged 3-12 to read for pleasure.
“At its core, the TD Summer Reading Club just lets kids have fun reading,” said Cynthia Gatto, Children’s Resource Manager for Halifax Public Libraries. “With this program, children choose reading material they love. They can read about any topic in any format they want. The goal is to just let children enjoy the experience.”
Children set their own personal reading goals and prizes are earned when they achieve their goals as well as at milestones along the way. Branch and regional prizes are also awarded as readers progress throughout the summer.
Support from local schools plays a huge role in getting more than 20 per cent of elementary-aged children in HRM enrolled in this program each year through more than 1,000 classroom visits by library staff as well as teacher recommendations.
“The TD Summer Reading Club gives children a chance to experience reading outside of school in an enjoyable way,” said Anne LeBlanc, Grade 4 teacher at Michael Wallace Elementary School. “The friendly and helpful library staff not only assist the children to find books, they give them positive feedback — and prizes. This fosters a love of reading which opens the door to lifelong enjoyment.”
In addition to school support, feedback from parents has been overwhelmingly positive in past years.
“The reading club gave my son an opportunity to find books of his choosing and challenge himself to read higher level books than he would have at school,” said one parent in last year’s Summer Reading Club survey.
“My son really discovered the joy of reading. He now reads for pleasure instead of ‘because he has to,’” said another parent in the survey.
Prizes for this summer include a bicycle package from Cyclesmith, a Nintendo 3DS, an iPod Touch, a $175 LEGO® gift card, a free program with HRM Recreation, family passes to Discovery Centre and the Museum of Natural History, a pool party at the Canada Games Centre, a variety of books and more!
Go to halifaxpubliclibraries.ca to find out how you can get your children involved in the libraries’ free TD Summer Reading Club.