Karen Ricketson reads to children at the Plattsburgh Public LIbrary.
PLATTSBURGH — Growing up, the library provided the escape Sharon Brandhold needed from the pain in her life.
“I don’t know what I would have done without the library,” said Brandhold, youth services librarian at Plattsburgh Public Library.
She recalls that she practically lived in the library and that at 11-years-old she knew she wanted to become a librarian. Brandhold will be at the library when children come in to participate in the annual summer reading initiative.
Plattsburgh Public Library and more than 1,000 public libraries and neighborhood branches statewide recently announced 2012’s summer reading programs.
The joint effort is spearheaded by the New York State Library and the New York State Education Department, and its theme is “Dream Big.”
The programs provide young people with access to the resources of public libraries to support their summer reading. Through the programs, young people will get reading lists and books and participate in activities at their local libraries.
Plattsburgh Public Library is using a grant of $750 from Stewart’s to help fund its efforts.
According to the library’s records, last year, 219 children signed up for the programs and read 1,023 books over the course of the summer.
The year before, more than 209 area youths participated, reading more than 1,100 books.
Statewide, roughly 1.5 million young people participated in last year’s summer reading programs.
Children can sign up for the reading part of the Plattsburgh Public Library’s programs between June 18 and June 30. The programs are geared toward children between the ages of 3 and 11.
Children are encouraged to discuss and write about the books they read.
On Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m., the library will offer a series of programs that will include a storyteller, a singer and a theatrical production.
An overwhelming amount of research indicates that a student can lose up to one month’s worth of education over the course of a summer, and that disadvantaged students are impacted more negatively by the long vacation.
Summer reading is a vital component of combating this summer slide.
“The state wants kids to read over the summer, because if they don’t, they lose 20 percent of words used the previous year,” said Stan Ransom, Plattsburgh Public Library’s Director. “It is very valuable.”
Library officials are asking teachers to encourage their students to participate in the programs.
“Students only become better readers the more they practice the skill,” said Karen Ricketson, a library employee. “It encourages them in a fun way, so they hit the ground running when school starts.”