Young reader soars with library’s summer program

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Christopher Robinette, a third-grader at Berryville Elementary School, logged more than 250 hours of reading as part of the Berryville Public Library’s Summer Reading Program.
Submitted photo

When 8-year-old Christopher Robinette heard about the Berryville Public Library Summer Reading Program during a special presentation at his school, he wasn’t very excited or even motivated to take the information home to his mother. He had visions of spending the summer staying at home watching TV and playing video games on his Kindle.

However, his mother, Lori Robinette, had a different vision and signed him up to participate in the reading program.

In a recent interview with Christopher and his mother at the library, Christopher said he didn’t think he would like the library program and felt it might be boring to sit around with books all summer long. He said the only thing that sounded fun was the program’s theme about Space. As the summer reading program launched, Christopher didn’t know how his life was about to change.

Christopher Robin Robinette — a most fitting name — is a third-grader in Melissa Woods’ class at Berryville Elementary School. He has lived in Berryville all his life.

“At the end of school last year he was barely reading above a kindergarten level and rated a score of 150 on the Lexile reading scale,” Woods said.

After spending the summer reading, his teacher reported that four months later, Christoper more than doubled his reading score with a score of 330 in October.

“Not only has his reading improved, his writing has improved exponentially,” Woods said.

Woods stated that reading is the core of understanding math problems, social studies and science, so teachers are seeing Christopher excel in all of those areas.

Because Christopher is so much more confident in reading, Woods said, he volunteers freely to read out loud to the class, which is a definite change from last year.

“It has been amazing watching him blossom this year because of the added confidence he gained in learning to read,” Woods said. “I feel the involvement in reading he had through his enthusiastic participation in the summer reading program truly opened up a world of learning that will help him through the rest of his life.”

It has been proved that children who don’t read over the summer can actually regress in their reading skills by the time school begins in the fall.

On his first day at the summer reading program, Christopher remembered some Junie B. Jones books they read in Mrs. McCullough’s second-grade classroom, so he decided to find those books first at the library. To his surprise, the library had more than 30 Junie B. Jones books on the shelf. He had no idea there were so many books as he began looking through each of them.

Then, Mary-Esther, a library employee, showed Christopher the series of Geronimo Stilton books. And something happened — he began reading these books and says they were so interesting that he couldn’t put them down.

His mom recalled that over the summer, he always had a book in his hand and if the television was on, he would immediately begin reading when a commercial came on and many times would lose track of when the commercial concluded and would continue reading through the rest of the program. Christopher was even asking to go to bed an hour and a half early so that he could lie in bed and read before going to sleep. His mom laughed and said she had a different little boy now that reading opened up this new world for world. Even though the summer reading program has concluded, Christopher continues to read all the time.

Based on age, goals are set during the summer reading program for the number of books read. It didn’t take Christopher long to meet and begin exceeding all of his reading goals and by the end of summer, he was a top winner, logging more than 250 hours of reading. Christopher, who said he had never received any awards or trophies, earned top trophies for “Going Above & Beyond,” a ‘Shooting Star Trophy,” and the Black Hole Award.

The Summer Reading program also engages area businesses to provide prizes that are used as incentives to reward participants who meet their weekly reading goals. A special Space Jam party was held at summer’s end for all goal achievers. Christopher recalled enjoying the ice cream, pizza and sandwich coupons the most while he also enjoyed winning glow-in-the-dark stickers of the constellation that still hang on his bedroom ceiling.

Christopher grinned from ear to ear during this interview about the success he achieved in learning how to read. When asked if he had any advice for other kids like him who want to start reading, his reply was to go visit the library and find an author who writes about things you are interested in. It will open up an entire world that will help you do better in school.

The Berryville Summer Reading Program is offered free to children and adults of all ages offering cool themes, learning opportunities, and wonderful prizes. This year was the first year that the Berryville School District supported the library’s summer program by providing a reading bus that transported participating students to the library and provided lunch at no cost.

In addition to the summer reading program, the Berryville Public Library offers year-round programming targeted for all ages. From book clubs to “take and make crafts” to video gaming, there is something sure to please everyone regardless of their age. Christopher’s mom Lori added: “And the best part about the Berryville Public Library, is that all the programs are free! What a deal!”

The Berryville Public Library announced earlier this year that it has embarked on a capital campaign to raise funds to build an expanded library on land donated by the City of Berryville. The library has been in the same location for almost 30 years and additional space is needed to meet the growing needs of the community.

Join Christopher Robin Robinette and open up a new dimension in your world by getting into a book today! Come check out the library which is open seven days a week.

For more information on the Berryville Library or to view a schedule of events, visit the website BerryvilleLibrary.org or call the library at 870-423-2323.

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