Since 1930 the Los Angeles Public Library has offered a free summer reading program to foster literacy and learning when students are out of school and susceptible to the dreaded summer slump. Last year, over 45,000 students participated, and this summer the LAPL expects that number will continue to grow. The 2013 Summer Reading Program kicks off today and runs through August 3 and is open to preschoolers (ages 0-4), children (ages 5-10), and teens (ages 11-19). In a time when nutrition is more important than ever, this year’s theme revolves around food to encourage kids and parents that reading can be interactive, fun, and delicious.
Students can stop by any branch of the Los Angeles Public Library to pick up a game board, which provides a playful way for kids and parents to track their summer reading activities. When students check back in with their library throughout the program, they receive prizes, stickers, and books to encourage their progress. The libraries will also offer a range of food related activities to get kids excited about reading: from inventing new menus and writing reviews of their favorite restaurants, to workshops on planting an edible garden, and visits by local chefs.
This year too there will be special “food” program boxes that students can check out through Youth Services and take home to keep them simmering with constructive activities all summer. The boxes include crafts, scripts for plays, puppet show materials, and even cupcake decorating kits for teens. All of the activities promote creative storytelling, and show kids and parents how to enrich literacy skills through play.
“Our goal has always been to bring in new users to the Library, especially from underserved groups in the community. By offering a fun way to interact with books, the library and librarians, we are encouraging them to read for pleasure,” says Eva Mitnick, LAPL’s coordinator of Children’s Services. The Los Angeles Public Library is also partnering with other organizations this summer to offer pilot learning programs for kids, including the California Science Center, which will donate preschool kits filled with science equipment on such topics as “From Seeds to Plants.” Another program with Iridescent Learning will offer a five-session family science course taught by USC engineers.
For teens and children 18 and under, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank will be distributing free lunches at the Pacoima Branch and Central Library to make sure kids who receive free school lunches don’t go hungry during summer break, and are able to get easy access to literacy and learning programs at the Library.
For a full schedule of all upcoming programs for kids and teens, visit www.lapl.org/summerreading.