Summer is finally here, and you can see signs of it everywhere: people in flip flops, convertibles cruising the streets, and kids — lots of kids, fresh out of school.
But with summer and an abundance of free time, children can lose some of the skills they had been developing while in school.
That’s where the library’s summer reading club comes in.
“It’s designed to motivate them to keep them reading throughout the summer,” said Adrienne Wass, Sooke’s new contract librarian for the Vancouver Island Regional Library.
“(Kids) can actually lose their reading skills if they don’t read over the summer so that’s a big thing.”
Separate programs are available for different age groups, said Wass, who came from the Greater Victoria Public Library system in May.
“Basically there’s two parts: for the preschool kids aged three to five, and then the primary school kids six to 12.”
The preschool kids can sign up for the “Read to Me” program designed for parents and guardians to choose books to read together with their children.
Older primary school kids in the regular reading club choose their own books and work through them at their own pace.
Both groups get a kit that includes a reading record, which is a booklet to help track how many books they finish.
Once seven entries are filled out, children can visit the library to collect a sticker and enter a weekly draw for book prizes. The booklet has space for 49 entries, and a medal is awarded if it’s completed.
The older kids’ kits also include coloured pencils, a pencil sharpener, a special Vancouver Island Regional Library eraser and a do-not-disturb doorknob hanger.
“It’s very empowering for them to have their own kit, their own (sign) that explains when they want people to come in (and) when they don’t want to be disturbed because they’re reading. They love that idea,” she said.
Parents and kids can go to the library any time it’s open to sign up, and everything else is done according to their own schedule. The program is free and runs until the end of August.
“They read on their own,” Wass said. “That’s important because kids are going to be having school holidays, camping, travelling – they can read while they’re on a trip and then (bring the completed book back) in.”
In addition to the reading club, the Sooke library also offers activities almost every week: story telling, songs, puppet shows, crafts, and educational video games. There will also be a wrap-up party at the end of summer featuring local science teacher and performer Glen Kachmar.
“It’s more than just reading a book — it’s getting the kids excited, getting them to interact,” said Wass. “It’s important because brain development and a love for reading doesn’t start when kids go to school, it starts at birth.”
For more information about the club and activities, drop by the library or visit www.kidssrc.ca.