Headline: 20 minutes could change a child's future

Release date: 2013-05-29

Press release body copy:

The Library Announces Summer Reading Programs & Urges Parents to Make Reading a Priority

HARRISBURG, Pa.— With many Dauphin County schools nearing year end, thousands of children across the region are at risk of losing valuable reading and comprehension skills during the summer. According to the National Summer Learning Association, summer loss for all students equals about one month on a grade-level equivalent scale. The biggest risk, however, is for the county’s 62.5* percent of children who live in economically at-risk families. The association reports that low-income students lose more than two months in reading achievement, and by the end of fifth grade, poor children fall more than two years behind their middle-class peers in verbal achievement.

"It’s truly a saddening reality that many of our county’s children are at risk of falling behind in school without additional summer learning and reading opportunities," said Lisa Appelt, Public Services Director for Dauphin County Library System. "We hope to prevent these setbacks by offering free programming at our eight libraries, and encouraging parents to read with their children for 20 minutes a day or more."

Appelt and her team understand busy, summer schedules can make finding time for reading difficult, but agree with the U.S. Department of Education’s suggestion that 20 minutes each day can give children more opportunities in the future. To assist in achieving this goal, The Library also will offer a variety of programming including:

  • Dig Into Science invites young learners to get their hands dirty as they dig into a journey to the Earth’s core. During the program, children will learn about pressure through volcano experiments; explore the deepest cave in South Africa as they make stalagmite and stalactite-like instant ‘crystals;’ and discover the science behind tectonic plates and liquid rock by making ‘silly putty.’ Proving that science and learning can be fun, this program is funded by The Whitaker Fund for Science and Math, a special initiative of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities.
  • Zoo America attendees will explore the hidden homes of animals that live in burrows, caves and crevices. Featuring snakes, spiders, birds and beasts, this program will keep children intrigued to learn about what’s living hidden in the world around them.
  • Dino Dig welcomes children to join eight-foot-tall Triceratops skull Mr. Nixon and field paleontologists Mike and Roberta Straka on a scientific exploration highlighting the world of dinosaurs, fossils, rocks and minerals. The team will share adventures from excavating the badlands of North and South Dakota, as well as original music, show and tell with rare fossils, a “Dinosaur Game Show” and more.
  • Fossils! will give children the opportunity to uncover their own fossils through a hands-on, educational program. Attendees will first learn how fossils are made and then grab a trowel and fossil screen to sift for their own real fossils to take home.

"Students are motivated to read for themselves to either satisfy their own natural curiosity or out of a love of stories," said Cindy Minnich, an English teacher at Upper Dauphin Area High School and 2012 recipient of the Person of the Year for the Sara Haldeman Haly Award from The Library. "I encourage students and parents alike to use the library's incredible resource of books, eBooks, audiobooks and magazines to find reading material to fill the long summer hours and keep their reading skills sharp."

"In 2012 alone, more than 22,000 children attended The Library’s youth programming," said Appelt. "We hope to remain at the heart of our community and make an even bigger impact this year."

To learn more about The Library’s offering of summer programming, visit www.dcls.org.

* 2010-11 report from the Office of Child Development and Early Learning


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