Exploration through a Summer Reading Program

This year’s summer reading program is out of this world! Since we will all be celebrating space exploration and Neil Armstrong’s 50-year anniversary of walking on the moon, the Collaborative Summer Literacy Program (CSLP) has developed the slogan “A Universe of Stories” for 2019. Not only will this summer reading program help keep students from experiencing summer slide in their reading skills, but it will also encourage all ages to explore the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); sci-fi novels, and hands-on activities. Is your local library prepared to blast-off its summer reading program? Chances are that they began their mission for their communities in the fall of 2018.


The Main Objective

Summer reading programs are designed to enrich communities on many levels. One major objective is to keep kids from summer slide, the loss of reading skills over a student’s summer break. Libraries want students to maintain and even improve their reading skills while creating a positive attitude towards reading. Participants will keep track of what they read to meet goals and possibly earn a prize. Commonly, incentives are given to recognize the readers’ achievements. In addition to encouraging reading, libraries fill the summer reading program calendar with special events that generally follow the theme of the program. Libraries invite speakers to share specialized knowledge and skills. Program participants may also attend the library’s craft sessions or other hands-on activities. Kids aren’t the only ones who enjoy and learn from summer reading programs. Libraries usually have a similarly themed summer reading program for adults too.



Frequently, libraries use state funding for summer reading programs. Money can be spent on a curriculum such as that provided by CSLP. In addition to activity supplies, incentives, and awards, they may acquire new books and other resources for their collection – all following the program’s theme. Along with bringing in speakers, entertainers, and storytellers, patrons may be invited to local points of interest that have something to offer in regards to the theme of the program.



What can we expect kids to be reading if they participate in A Universe of Stories? Kids will explore a galaxy of choices showcased by their local library. Of course, these will include tales of space exploration and alien encounters. Science-fiction, historical novels, and biographies are sure choices, and some readers will undoubtedly gravitate towards series like Star Wars. Some texts will include characters with STEM careers and interests. Also, your library may already carry non-fiction books that encourage readers down these paths of study. Look for texts on science experiments or backyard astronomy. While following the summer reading guidelines, readers are sure to make discoveries about themselves and the world around them.

The learning activities featured in A Universe of Stories will be age-specific. Youngsters may use pictures of planets, stars, and space gear to practice sorting, counting, and color identification. They may create artwork inspired by a book they have read or heard during story time. Parents can observe their children working cooperatively under the guidance of a professional. Doing so can help them with their own parenting skills, as parents will see demonstrated the techniques for teaching that can be used with the little ones at home.

Older readers will engage in learning activities too. Along with discussing the works they’ve read in group settings, many will be learning how to track the phases of the moon, observe the night sky through a telescope, or make alien slime. Besides being educational, students will be inspired to appreciate the beauty and mystery of our galaxy.


Outside of the Library

Many participants in A Universe of Stories will get the opportunity to enjoy nearby science museums, planetariums, and air and space museums for enrichment. When such a strong link between a local point of interest and the library’s current events exists, free tickets and discount coupons for admission to these places are often distributed to summer reading program participants. If such places are not in the area, families may want to schedule a day trip or add a stop to current vacation plans. When it comes to A Universe of Stories, no family will be traveling beyond Earth’s atmosphere, but NASA has made it possible to explore space right from one’s own home. Check out NASA’s treasure trove of resources. Learn all about the solar system or watch historical footage of the Apollo 11 mission online.

Just as the libraries have been planning for their summer reading program, future participants can prepare for it too. Many local library websites have already posted registration information and sneak-peeks into the events that will be taking place this summer. Sign up and see what your library has to offer!