At the Estherville Public Library Family Fun and Awards Night Thursday at the Emmet County Nature Center, it was apparent again that our young readers of today are the leaders of tomorrow.
The sheer volume of their reading was enormous - as was the number of young readers getting awards. The venue as great, too - along the lake on a warm summer evening.
By now, everyone should realize the value of the summer reading program. But it doesn't hurt to emphasize the benefits.
First of all, reading is a habit. By continuing the reading habit they've developed through the summer, kids will follow through and continue that habit into the school year.
It's also a way to fill in the informational gaps kids might have from the previous school year. Creating a smooth synthesis of information can help students get a jump start on what they need to know in their next year of studies.
It also broadens a student's horizons. Summer is a great time for leisure reading - the sort of reading they've always wanted to do but couldn't in the classroom. It's a way for them to cultivate and satisfy new areas of interest. Have they always wondered how the pyramids were built? And why? Is there an endangered species they want to know more about? Or is there a foreign country they've always been fascinated in - and always wanted to visit? And maybe even plan on visiting someday? What a wonderful opportunity, to read up on such a place.
These are the sorts of things kids have been discovering this summer. And hopefully they'll be able to continue discovering those things in summers to come.
That's why summer reading programs are so valuable. And that's why kids who have been able to participate in the program this summer have discovered worlds they didn't even know were there before.
And there's no price you can put on that.