A summer break doesn’t necessarily mean a break from reading for Woodward Elementary School students.
The library at the school, 200 S. Washington St., is open from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays for students to check out books and participate in the summer reading program.
Every student who visits the library receives an “I like to read” bracelet. Students also receive stickers for meeting the recommended weekly reading time.
The library provides an opportunity for students to check out books, read a book to a therapy dog named Coker, or play educational games.
Brindi Hellinger, library media specialist, said the main goal in keeping the library open is to make sure students are not taking a break from reading during the summer.
“We want our students to continue to practice reading and keep their reading skills sharp,” Hellinger said. “It is important that during the summer they don’t lose any of their reading skills they gained all year long.”
Each week, 20 to 25 students, most going into first or second grade, take advantage of the open library day, she said.
Hellinger said there will be a prize at the beginning of the school year for students who fill out their reading log, even if they don’t visit the library over the summer.
“Last year, students received a gift card to the Scholastic Book Fair and other gift cards to places around Delaware,” she said. “It will be a different prize this year, but it’s a surprise.”
Hellinger said a reading teacher also is available each Tuesday to talk to parents about helping their children sharpen their reading skills.
“It’s great to see parents in here finding out what they can do to build reading skills in their children at home,” she said.
Hellinger said last year, the school gave out colored dogtags to all students who visited the library, and students wore them on the first day of school.
This year, students can collect up to eight bracelets, and they’re encouraged to wear them on the first day of school to showcase how much reading they’ve done this summer.
In addition to promoting the summer reading program, Hellinger believes it’s important for students to be proud of how much time they spend reading.
“The advantages of continued reading throughout the summer aren’t tangible for students,” she said.
“We wanted to give them something tangible that they can see and be proud of the work they accomplished.”
Hellinger said the school works to find ways to increase library attendance and promote reading.
“We try programs and incentives and we endeavor to keep things kids interested in reading and keeping coming in to the library,” she said.