Chattahoochee Valley Libraries hope to keep kids reading this summer
May 30, 2015 at 12:51 AM EST - Updated August 28 at 1:42 PM
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM)
Many kids work hard in school all year long, but experts say months of education can be lost during the summer if parents don't encourage activities like reading.
Libraries across the valley are trying to prevent that from happening to thousands of kids. While things like swimming and biking keep kids physically active this season, librarians across the valley are trying to keep their minds equally engaged.
It's a priority for them because they say it could have lasting effects if they don't help kids continue reading.
The days of summer freedom can be daunting for parents as they try to fill their little ones' time with productive activities.
One local organization hosted an afternoon of coloring, prizes, and book giveaways Friday, May 29 at the Columbus Public Library to help families stay busy in positive ways this season.
"Anything to get them active and moving, I realized that a lot of children said that they love to watch TV so we're trying to get some things where they can get different ideas as to other options during the summer time," said Ariel Mobley, co-founder of the Be a Girl, Like Me organization.
While outdoor activities, like playing in the back yard, can be easy ways for parents to keep their kids on the move, experts say keeping them intellectually engaged is just as important.
"I love to read, that's my favorite part of school," said 9-year-old Ethan Mack.
"Studies show that children that don't read experience something that we call the Summer Slide, that means that everything that they've learned in the school year, they're actually losing some of the months worth of information that they've gained," said Tiffany Wilson with the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries.
The latest research from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that 17 percent of Muscogee County residents lack basic reading skills, and that number is even higher is Russell County reaching 21 percent.
Literacy experts say the issue usually starts in childhood, which is why library administrators are hosting multiple programs to keep books flying of the shelves all summer long.
Librarians are offering prizes to children who read 10 books... although some kids don't need the bribe.
"When I was in second grade my mom said, 'oh look Ethan it's your favorite place,' and I just yelled the Library cause it's my favorite," said Mack.