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Summer Learning in Public Libraries

It’s summertime in beautiful Colorado! Kids are out of school, the days are long, and the weather is warm. During the summer, it’s important—and easy and fun!—to include reading wherever the summer takes your family. 

Reading is one of the most important things children and teens can do during the summer to keep their skills sharp for the next school year. Reading just 4 to 6 books helps keep kids and teens from losing the reading ability they gained in the last school year.

Colorado’s 261 public and military libraries—at least one in every county—are an excellent place to start.  All of these libraries offer free summer learning programs that encourage kids and families to read for fun over the summer. Engaging events keep kids coming into the library all summer long to learn, have fun, and find new reading materials. Children that feel that reading is fun tend to read more often, so summer programs like these that help make reading enjoyable and social are most successful. 

These libraries also provide reading materials in a wide range of interests, reading levels, and formats—books, magazines, ebooks, audiobooks, and more—and expert staff to guide children and families in selecting great materials. Kids and teens that choose their own reading materials tend to read more, and they'll have plenty of great opportunities at the library. 

And there are other great learning opportunities to literally check out there, too; your family can borrow a Check Out Colorado State Parks nature backpack with a pass to any Colorado state park, binoculars, field guides, and ideas to enjoy your nature experience, all for free. Check out the backpack for a week at a time for unlimited outdoor learning fun for the whole family; learn more here!

Summer learning programs in Colorado libraries have shown success. A survey in 2014 of Colorado families involved in their local library’s summer program found that children’s enjoyment of reading, reading skills, and their choice to read often increased after being involved in a summer reading program, especially among families participating in a library program for the first time. 

Check out your local public library (use this directory to find one close to you) to see what fun events and activities are available for kids and families in your community, and sign up for the summer learning program to join the more than 182,000 kids, teens and adults that participate each year in their local library’s summer program each year for fun, sun, and reading! 

2017 Colorado Summer Learning Program: Build a Better World slogan

This year's summer program theme is Build a Better World; explore at your library and beyond how to incorporate the theme into your summer, from building and engineering to improving your neighborhood!

For more tips on summertime reading:

  • Keep reading fun for the kids in your life. They’ll see reading as an enjoyable activity and one they want to continue through the summer and their whole lives. 
  • Listen to audiobooks in the house and while traveling (it’s a fun way to pass the time on a long car trip!).
  • Get your kids their own library cards (they’re free!).
  • Summer reading can take place anywhere—at the park, at the kitchen table, in the car, in the park, or while visiting family and friends. Taking the reading adventure beyond the classroom is a great way for your kids and whole family to explore new worlds, have fun, and find new friends.
  • Become a reading role model for the kids and teens in your life. When you spend time reading books, blogs, the newspaper, or even directions for how to put together a piece of furniture, you show your child that reading is both fun and useful. 
  • Starting at birth, read aloud to your children. Reading aloud helps them develop language and pre-literacy skills.
  • Together with your kids, watch movies based on books, and read those books. Discuss the differences, talk about why the filmmakers chose to make changes, and ask which version they prefer and why.
  • For more easy ways to incorporate reading into your family's summer activities, print out this tip sheet to post on the fridge!

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Colorado Dept. of Education
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Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-6600
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