MINT HILL, NC – On Tuesday, August 10, the Mint Hill Library held a party to celebrate the culmination of this year’s Summer Break program.
The summer months when students take a break from school are critical to continued learning. In fact, students without access to summer learning opportunities are at risk of falling behind their peers, and this learning loss is difficult to recoup when children return to school in the fall.
To combat the so-called “summer slide,” the library offers Summer Break. To keep kids on track when it comes to important matters like literacy and physical activity, the library’s annual summer learning program encourages children of all ages to read, learn and explore.
To complete the program this summer, participants needed to earn and track 1200 points. 1 minute of reading is equivalent to one point, and 600 points (or ten hours) must be earned by reading; the remaining 600 can come from reading or a selection of other learning activities. As of July 27, 126 individuals had completed Summer Break in Mint Hill alone, accumulating nearly 400,000 minutes of reading! County-wide, 2558 people completed the program, reading over 7.5 million minutes as a community.
From 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm on August 10, the Mint Hill Library welcomed families with children of all ages to the library to celebrate the success their children demonstrated in the program this summer. Activities included arts and crafts, a visit from the fire and police departments, a library-wide scavenger hunt, and entertainment from children’s band Big Bang Boom.
“Today is our Summer Break Grand Finale,” said Library Manager Anne Mavian. “We just wanted to have a little celebration before the kids go off to school. We have a fire truck out there, Mint Hill Police – I think he’s going to be bringing his K-9 dog around the library! – and we even have a band who’s going to start up in a few minutes.”
The library also used the event to promote and inform parents about active reading and other parent and caregiver programs. “Active reading is the practice of reading aloud to your child,” explained Program Coordinator Elyse Berrier. “At the library, we teach the ABCS of active reading: if you can (a) ask questions while you’re reading, (b) build vocabulary, and (c) connect to your child’s world, then you can really elevate your child’s reading. We have active reading workshops that we offer every single month.”
Elyse also shared information about the library’s numerous other parent and caregiver programs. “We have programs for parents and caregivers of our youngest friends all the way up to parents of teens,” she says. “Every month at the library we have parent lunch and learn programs. We also partner with other outside agencies like Teen Health Connection and Love Speaks Out.”
In addition to take-home crafts, button making and a scavenger hunt geared toward young children, library staff also manned a table of resources on college and career connections for older children.
A highlight of the party was live music from Greensboro-based children’s band Big Bang Boom. Their interactive, high energy music is well-known for being a crowd pleaser for parents and children alike, and Tuesday was no exception as their fun tunes had kids swinging to the beat and dancing on the rug.
Meanwhile, In the parking lot, families flocked to the K-9 demonstration conducted by Mint Hill Police department and lined up for tours of the fire truck and the police car.
Children of all ages from babies to teens can earn a book or water bottle for completing Summer Break, and adults can earn a water bottle or drawstring bag. Prizes are available through August 20 at all branch locations while supplies last. If you’ve fallen behind on tracking your reading minutes, make sure to catch up and stop by the library to claim a prize by August 20!