When combating summer slide, ‘Libraries Rock!’

Friday, June 1, 2018 7:49 PM

Summer slide. No, it is not the phenomenon of navigating a burning hot slide on the playground!

According to the Colorado Department of Education, summer slide is “ ... the tendency for students, especially those from low-income families, to lose achievement gains they made during the previous school year.” As a parent or guardian, you may wonder what you can do to combat summer slide. While I am sure we have all thought of a variety of ways to keep kids’ and teens’ brains functioning during summer break, one of the easiest ways is to participate in the Summer Reading Program at your local library. Library programs are free, so anyone can stop in and partake in the fun.

Discovering a new or interesting story or book at your local library is a terrific way to keep your neurons firing and prevent summer slide. The sheer delight of opening a book with a fantastic story inside will help you escape some of those summer doldrums (because not every day is river rafting and ice cream.).

For me, it was Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary and Donald Sobol’s “Encyclopedia Brown” books. For you, it could be mysteries, science fiction or just a story about friends or dogs or growing up – engaging stories can create lifelong readers. With the thousands of books to choose at the library, you can have a bookshelf full of adventure and excitement each day.

Not sure what to choose? Ask your friendly library staff – we can always find a stack of books for you to explore.

You can also select titles from “The Great American Read” from PBS ( participate in selecting America’s favorite novel.

According to the CDE, “When children select reading materials themselves and read for enjoyment, they receive the most gains in reading achievement, including better reading comprehension, writing style, vocabulary, spelling and grammatical development.

“Also, the longer that this free voluntary reading is practiced, the more consistent and positive the results.”

Sounds rather formal, but the reality is that you should just let your child or teen pick a book that interests them in order to encourage healthy reading habits. For more tips from the CDE, visit their website at

Libraries and summer go together like rock ’n’ roll.

This year, libraries across Colorado and the Four Corners are celebrating with the theme “Libraries Rock!” At Durango Public Library, we are offering a program for children, teens and adults (because why should kids have all the fun!), with prizes and incentives for all ages.

In fact, when adults model reading to children and teens, they tend to read more themselves. We encourage people of all ages to read and take part in “Libraries Rock” all summer long.

Sandy Irwin is director at Durango Public Library.