Assistant Community Librarian Raphael Desjarlais.
Raphael and her family have lived in the Lakeview area of West Kelowna for the past 17 years.
Beware, Summer Brain Drain!
A disturbing but well documented fact is that children’s academic performance declines by approximately one month during the summer. This loss, called Summer Slide, or Summer Learning Loss, or Brain Drain, is cumulative over time. Children who do not read during the summer can have their reading skills slip entire grade levels during the course of their elementary years.
Children often stop learning in the summer and instead focus on indoor activities that are sedentary and involve electronic devices like video games, television and social media sites. Research shows that if they participate in summer reading programs they can actually make academic gains over the summer. In order to stem academic decline children need to be exposed to high-quality summer learning opportunities. The catch is, where to find these opportunities?
One easy, free method is to simply visit the library. We offer a variety of programs, materials and electronic resources that expose children to learning and cultural experiences. The Westbank Library‘s Summer Reading Club offers weekly reading activities and cultural programs including a magic show, clown, drawing class, puppet show and balloon art. There are also weekly contests with prizes.
Every study recommends taking children to the library to stem reading loss, so please visit the Westbank branch either in person or online this summer!
Series Recommendations for Summer Reading:
Kung Pow Chicken by Cyndi Marko
This series is an early chapter book for children who have just become independent readers. Low vocabulary but high interest content with illustrations on every page.
Bad Kitty by Nick Burel
Again a high interest, low vocabulary book with lots of illustrations. Appealing to both boys and girls this book is for emergent readers that can decode information from illustrations and contextual clues.
Nancy Clancy by Jane O’Connor
Transitioning from picture books to chapter books, the Fancy Nancy character with her excellent vocabulary now includes educational themes in her story lines.
Land of Stories Series by Chris Colfer
Aimed at pre-teens and written by “Glee” actor Chris Colfer this series is an entertaining and imaginative story of kids in a fairy tale world. Even though some of the books reviews have been critical of Colfer’s writing, I have not found a child who did not enjoy the book.
Did You Know?
The Okanagan Regional Library’s website features educational databases as well as an online catalogue where children can browse for library material. One recommended database is TumbleBook Library for Kids. TumbleBooks is an online, multilingual tool that allows children to read electronically. The site offers story books, chapter books, math stories, puzzles, educational games and a library of animated books that is an excellent tool for emergent or beginner readers. Access this database free with your Library card!
Elena Dobel is the Branch Head for the Westbank Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library. Her columns run monthly in the Westside Weekly newspaper.