‘Join the Summer Quest’

Lycoming County Public Library System kicks off Summer Reading Program

Since the 1890s, Summer Reading Programs throughout the United States have been a way to encourage children to read, and public libraries have been participating in these programs for over 100 years, said Nina White, Youth Service manager at the James V. Brown Library, 19 E. Fourth St. Summer Reading Programs have changed, evolved and grown, and now invite children, and even adults, in Lycoming County to joining the Summer Quest.

Summer Quest, a term Pennsylvania libraries are now using, ensures children are engaging in reading paired with hands-on activities along their “quest for knowledge and curiosity,” White said.

“Reading alone, children learn more and are engaged more. They process differently so there needs to be hands-on learning that extends and expands from the book,” White said. “Joining the Summer Quest is part of making sure we’re not just measuring how many books kids read, it’s how many hands-on activities are they engaged in that supported the books.”

In the past, the Department of Education has measured how many books children read, typically eight, by recording them in a log, she said. From research, they learned that this method does not guarantee children were reading because what eight books may be for one child is different for another.

Once a child finished their book, this method did not encourage children to continue reading. The goal of the program is to have and encourage sustained reading throughout the year, White said. From this, they moved to logging minutes versus books. Now, though, through the Summer Quest, students will measure and log their activities and minutes read.

By using the minutes method, it allows children to work with goal-setting, which is a part of the curriculum, so they could choose to read 10, 15, 20 minutes or one hour a day, she said. This allows parents to get involved with their children. “They might have a child who is an avid reader or a struggling reader and it’s not one-measurement-fits-all.” Minutes creates an equal playing field and tailors reading to each student.

“If a child who was a reluctant reader was going to be measured by their individual effort as opposed to how many and when, there is a contest and you reward those that read the most. We’re not really reaching and embracing to those that are trying really hard and improving and having great gains over the summer if you’re just measuring a total amount of books,” White said. “The books are the gateway, but the activities also support what you read or can introduce someone into the reading.”

At the James V. Brown Library this

year, they will not only measure reading but will incorporate an activity log, too, in hopes to engage more with reluctant readers, as they may enjoy the hands-on learning, White said. Other libraries may measure the Summer Quest differently.

For children, it is called Summer Quest, but it is called summer learning for teachers, parents and the community, White said. It is being referred to as summer learning in the state. Summer learning can connect reading, science, helping and volunteering throughout it’s curriculum.

The Summer Reading Program helps fight the summer slide, she said. According to John Hopkins Center for Summer Learning, two months of a child’s education and development is lost during summer, impacting their next school year resulting a month lost due to reteaching the forgotten materials, White shared.

Lycoming County’s public libraries include the Montgomery Area Public Library, 1 S. Main St., Montgomery; Muncy Public Library, 108 S. Main St., Muncy; W. B. Konkle Memorial Library, 384 Broad St., Montoursville; James V. Brown Library; Jersey Shore Public Library, 110 Oliver St., Jersey Shore; and the Hughesville Area Public Library, 146 S. Fifth St., Hughesville.

This year’s theme is Libraries Rock! and each library can use its creative liberties in how they use the theme. For example, they could do something related to music or geology, White said. The James V. Brown Library will be having a music theme.

There is a traveling performance, Dinosaurs Rock, going throughout Lycoming County’s public libraries, White said. The interactive exhibit with life-size and museum-quality fossils allows kids to act as paleontologists, according to the “Libraries Rock! Join Our Summer Quest” paper.

In addition to the traveling event, each library will be hosting their own activities for different age groups and family programs. At the James V. Brown Library, there will be a week-long drumming camp where K-2, tweens and teens create their own drum that they can bring to use at a drumming circle. There also will be an open mic night, camps focusing on coding, kitchen science, digital art and art in the alley, among many more. There also is the James V. Brown Library Adult Summer Quest from June 5 to August 25.

Other libraries will have events such as All about me drums, ages 7-11, from 2 to 3 p.m. June 5, Montgomery Area Public Library; Yoga for families, in June, Muncy Public Library; Bedtime math, ages 3-12, 6:30 p.m. July 2, W. B. Konkle Memorial Library; the Children’s programs, ages 1-12, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Jersey Shore Public Library; and Basic car maintenance, teens, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 9, Hughesville Area Public Library.

The Summer Reading Program that the Lycoming County Public Library System participates in is part of a national program that all public libraries participate in, White said. If a child was to travel to a different state during summer, the public library there will also be participating in the same thematic Summer Reading Program.

“Connecting children to books, support their learning and encouraging a love of learning, I don’t think that will ever change,” White said. “I think connecting children to books and instilling a love of reading, a love of learning, is constant.”

Lycoming County Public Libraries Summer Reading Program

• Hughesville Area Public Library: Start June 4, ends August 15.

• James V. Brown Library: Starts June 4, ends August 6.

• Jersey Shore Public Library: Starts June 15, ends August 11.

• Montgomery Area Public Library: Starts June 6, ends August 3.

• Muncy Public Library: Starts June 4, ends August 11.

• W. B. Konkle Memorial Library: Starts June 15, ends August 11.