Many schools report improved academic achievement when students read over the holidays. If children fail to keep up their reading ability, they drop behind their peers in proficiency. This can lead to a range of behavioural problems. There is a great deal a parent can do to ensure reading is part of a holiday activity. Contact your local library and enquire about a summer reading challenge.
This reading success story comes from Simie Simpson, Whare Pukapuka o Takiwira/Dargaville Public Library.
Terry (not his real name) lost some library books, so his Mum banned him from borrowing. He and his friends would come to play on the computers but did not venture into the children’s section. Nevertheless, Simie Simpson, the Library Assistant persuaded these boys to sign up for the pizza reading challenge – the lure of pizza worked a treat. They could read any book, including picture books and graphic novels if they told her about it afterward.
Terry and the boys lost their cards, restarted and lost second cards, weren’t at the library to collect their pizzas on the day, and eventually, lost interest. They did not complete the pizza challenge; one of the group was so shy he stood by the door and couldn’t look at Simie when talking about a book he had read. But not all was lost. Terry, however, was permitted by his Mum to take one book out at a time and he started reading regularly.
Terry is now participating in the summer reading programme and allowed to borrow four books! He is interacting positively with staff and talking about books. His friends all say hello and stop to chat when they come into the library. They also spend at least some time in the kid's section looking at books before spending time on the computers. For Simie, this was a huge win and why she thinks these reading programmes are awesome!
“It’s not just about the reading but about building relationships with the kids,” Simie told us. “I was
surprised the pizza programme did not hold their interest,” she admitted “It got the boys started, but it was not what kept them coming back.”
Like so many librarians, Simie helped the boys find other ways to explore the world. Curiosity is what
motivates their reading now. Moreover, it is not something a young boy can lose.