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Samantha Jones

Sam's Notebook

Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is CCNNews@cox-internet.com

Support your local library

Thursday, June 13, 2019

There are many things I love about my job; interacting with the community, writing for a living and creating my own schedule make the list. The best part, of course, is sharing all the good things happening in Carroll County with our community. Thatís why Iím especially excited during the summertime, when we cover summer reading programs at all three libraries in the county.

Children are encouraged to read during the school year, but what happens when they leave for summer break? Weíre fortunate to have libraries that step in and continue that encouragement. Through summer reading programs, local kids set and achieve reading goals during their time off from school.

Itís extremely important for school-age kids to practice reading on a regular basis. In a recent interview with Peggy Lodewyks about Holiday Island Rotary Clubís Imagination Library program, I learned why itís such a big deal for children to learn how to read young and to keep reading as much as they can. When children learn new vocabulary words, they apply that knowledge to their daily life.

Lodewyks told me about children under 5 who can identify various items at the grocery store. Children who learn about reading early on have a better grasp of the world around them. They learn about communication and imagination before stepping into a classroom. And when they do step into the classroom? Well, Lodewyks told me teachers can tell which students have been read to and which havenít.

Our local libraries offer services that keep children sharp during their summer break, and they do this in a fun way. This yearís theme is ďA Universe of Stories,Ē with the idea of integrating space-themed knowledge into the activities. That means children who attend the programs take away much more than a love of reading. They gain new knowledge, new accomplishments and, often, new friends.

An avid reader myself, I associate growing up with books ĖĖ†lots and lots of books. I was obsessed with the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series as a kid, as well as The Baby-Sitters Club and R.L. Stineís Fear Street novels. I read the classics, too, and found some pieces of literature I loved. Of Mice and Men was my introduction to Steinbeck and encouraged me to write my own stories about simple people leading average lives. Reading Gone With the Wind helped me bond with my nana, who loves both the book and the movie.

I can say with certainty I wouldnít be where I am today if I hadnít been encouraged to read at an early age. Reading has taught me about people Iíve never met and places Iíve never traveled. It has irrevocably changed my perspective on the world. For that, I am grateful.

I am even more grateful for our local librarians and educators who instill a love of learning in kids who might not experience that kind of encouragement at home. If youíre wondering how you can make our community better, itís simple. Support our local libraries in every way possible. Donate your money and time. Tell people about whatís going on there and how important it is for young people to read.

We are so lucky to live in a place where a love of learning is always encouraged. Iím sharing that love today, and I hope you are, too!