Steamboat’s youth reading programs aim to make reading fun | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat’s youth reading programs aim to make reading fun

Bud Werner Memorial Library events try to prevent academic regression

Jack Weinstein





Sarah Kostin, youth services librarian at Bud Werner Memorial Library, leads children in a song during a reading program Tuesday at the library. Summer education programs like the reading programs offered at Bud Werner could prevent what educators call the "summer slide."
Matt Stensland

Get involved

Summer programs for students in Routt County:

Bud Werner Memorial Library

970-879-0240

■ Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs

970-871-3160

Recommended Stories For You

■ City of Steamboat Springs

970-879-4300

■ Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. Kids Adventure Club

970-871-5262

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps

970-870-6382

Yampatika

970-870-6382

Totally Kids in Hayden

970-846-9083

■ Hayden Public Library

970-276-3777

■ CNCC in Oak Creek

970-736-2323

— Sarah Kostin wants children to be lifelong readers.

The youth services librarian at Bud Werner Memorial Library said the summer reading programs, which began last week, are intended to associate the library and reading with fun.

"Somewhere in elementary school and middle school years, reading stops being fun," Kostin said. "They associate reading with homework, something they don't like. What we aim to do is keep that love of reading alive."

Summer education programs like the reading programs offered at Bud Werner could prevent what educators call the "summer slide" — the academic growth a student loses during the summer.

Steamboat Springs School District Superintendent Sha­lee Cunningham said teachers spend time at the beginning of each school year reviewing what students learned the previous year.

"We would probably do that anyway, reviewing what we teach, but yeah, I would say it's noticeable," she said about the summer slide.

In a March 10, 2009, story posted on the Washington bureau website of McClatchy Newspapers, President Barack Obama said American children should go to school longer, either later in the day or into the summer.

"We can no longer afford an academic calendar designed when America was a nation of farmers who needed their children at home plowing the land at the end of each day," Obama said. "That calendar may have once made sense, but today, it puts us at a competitive disadvantage. Our children spend over a month less in school than children in South Korea. That is no way to prepare them for a 21st century economy."

Cunningham said she doesn't necessarily think more is better, referring to extending the school year. Instead, she would like to focus on quality instead of quantity.

"With that being said, I also believe the agrarian calendar we have now is long overdue for a change," she said. "Con­versations around a yearlong calendar would be healthy to have."

Megan McDermott, a spokeswoman with the Colorado De­­partment of Education, said state statutes require school districts to meet a minimum number of hours each school year. She said 1,080 hours of instruction are required at middle and high schools, 990 at elementary schools, 900 for full-day kindergarten and 450 for half-day kindergarten.

McDermott said any decision to exceed the minimum number of hours required could be made by a local school board and school principal.

In addition to helping prevent the "summer slide," Kostin said if children enjoy reading, there's a better chance they'll continue as they get older, which will assist them with their academic development.

"It opens up worlds, new perspectives and allows you to think about things you wouldn't be exposed to otherwise," she said. "Especially in Steamboat, where we're so isolated. You can travel the world in a book."

The summer reading program geared toward 5- to 10-year-olds is called "Read 2 The Peak" this year. For each three hours of reading, the children symbolically scale one of the world's seven tallest peaks from Mount Kosciuszko in Australia to Mount Everest on the Tibet-Nepal border. For each peak scaled, the children earn a small prize.

New this summer, Kostin said the library would host a sleepover in August as an incentive for children who read at least 50 hours this summer.

"Story and Hands-on Fun," another program for 5- to 10-­­year-­­olds, starts Thurs­­day and continues every week. The program includes stories, games and crafts and also will feature local mountain experts sharing their knowledge.

Other programs include: a weekly trivia raffle with prizes donated by local businesses; Book Pals, which pairs young children with their older peers for reading practice; Read to Dogs, a program that allows children to practice reading to a dog from Heeling Friends; Book Buzz Kits, which provide books and materials for children to start their own book clubs; and the Everest Book Club, in which children read Gordon Korman's "Everest." All programs are free.

On Thursday, Sara Redmond brought her son, Garrett, to the library from their home in Yampa to sign up for the summer reading program for 5- to 10-year-olds. Garrett, whom his mother described as a "voracious" reader, said he decided to participate in the program because, as a 10-year-old, it was his last chance.

"I wanted to do it one more time," he said, adding that he just wants to read. "That's what the library is for."

For more information about the summer reading programs, call the children's desk at the library at 879-0240.

Get involved

Summer programs for students in Routt County:

Bud Werner Memorial Library

970-879-0240

■ Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs

970-871-3160

■ City of Steamboat Springs

970-879-4300

■ Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. Kids Adventure Club

970-871-5262

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps

970-870-6382

Yampatika

970-870-6382

Totally Kids in Hayden

970-846-9083

■ Hayden Public Library

970-276-3777

■ CNCC in Oak Creek

970-736-2323

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