Fall into a book

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Summer tends to be the time of year for many people to seek some quiet time between the covers of a novel set aside for vacation.

It is also a time when children, away from the classroom for more than two months, are encouraged to undertake literacy activities in an effort to strengthen and retain their reading skills.

Local libraries have so much to offer children and adults, not just in the summer, but also all year round.

One club offered at many libraries is the TD Summer Reading Club, which is a joint initiative with Library and Archives Canada. The theme this year is EUREKA! with a focus on science, technology, reading, creativity and art. The theme was chosen to inspire imaginations and a love of reading. Children registered in the programs will receive free reading club materials in English and French, and a chance to win prizes.

Studies show that children's reading levels often drop over the summer. A report, Literature Review on the Impact of Summer Reading Clubs, found that students, overall, experience significant learning losses during the summer weeks in both reading and math, equivalent to about once month on a grade-level equivalent scale.

With only 70 per cent of students in Grade 3 able to read at the expected level on standardized tests administered in September and October 2013, it is extremely important parents step up to the plate and further decreases.

It was the worst result in seven years.

Literacy is not just reading books. It could be anything that involves the written language, like reading a recipe to make lemonade or homemade popsicles during the summer, to playing a board game or organizing a scavenger hunt with clues.

In 2013, more than 15,400 children and teens participated in more than 1,300 summer reading club programs at Nova Scotia public libraries, reading nearly 120,000 books.

Most library services are offered at no charge to card holders, so cost is not an excuse. Start a new chapter this summer and open a book.

Organizations: Library and Archives Canada, EUREKA!

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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