Dream Big! Read this Summer!
By Office of Communication
Posted on June 08, 2012, June 08, 2012

As they spun tales from favorite children's books, Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck and Mansfield Mayor David Cook also delivered a larger message to the youngest bookworms: keep the pages turning this summer.

The pair told a captive audience at the Kromer Branch of the Boys and Girls Club of Arlington that making time for books is important to keep their reading skills sharp.

"There's nothing more fun than sitting down with a good book," Cluck told the students. "It takes you out of the house and on a trip. So promise that you'll read this summer. Can you do that for us?"

The students shouted back "Yes!," their voices ringing off the walls of the community room where library officials told students about the Community Summer Reading Club that will be held in both Arlington and Mansfield.

"We want everyone reading, reading, reading," said early childhood librarian Laureen Jacobs. "And it's not just for you, but for your moms and dads and your teenage brothers and sisters."

The campaign, called "Dream Big! Read!", partners Arlington and Mansfield public libraries with childcare organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the YMCA and city parks and recreation departments to encourage all kids in both cities to read this summer.

The libraries have paired with those educational and nonprofit partners to support the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, a nationwide project that seeks to close the gap in reading achievement that separates many low-income students from peers.

Library officials said national studies show that a few hours of reading in the summer-as little as 15 minutes per day-can make a big difference in helping kids retain reading levels over the summer.

Many low-income children, studies show, can lose as much as two months of reading achievement in the summertime.

"We want kids to have a fun summer but make reading a part of that," said Norma Zuniga, the Arlington public library's division administrator for program management and community engagement. "We want to keep them interested and keep those skills sharp."

To help make the reading program accessible to all families, the documentation was pared down to a simple log for all grades that features 15-minute cubes of reading times that children can mark off.

Zuniga said the logs make it easier for families to track and help them stay mindful of their children's reading progress.

Readers can earn prizes, including certificates, swim passes, and a free ticket to the July 29th Rangers game. All participants are eligible to enter a drawing to meet Ian Kinsler at Library Night at Ranger's Ballpark on July 29.

The club is open to all kids, birth through 6th grade and all programs are free. Home school students will participate with corresponding age groups. There are teen and adult versions of summer reading programs as well to encourage families to read together.

For more information visit the Arlington Public Library's children's department web site.

By Laurie Fox

Dream Big

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