“Enjoy choosing books that you might like and read as many as you wish during school summer holidays at your own pace. Summer Stars is all about reading for pleasure.”
That’s the message from Clare County Library as it announces that the annual summer reading programme, Summer Stars, gets underway for children on 15th June, with additional online activities for all who sign up.
The summer months provide an ideal opportunity for children to take time to find books they really enjoy and to experience reading as an activity that is fun and a source of entertainment.
Helen Walsh, Clare County Librarian, says: “Access to books and reading for pleasure is well known to have many important long-term benefits. Children who develop an interest in reading have been found to have greater self-esteem and wellbeing, greater creativity, better social and health outcomes, and an overall better quality of life as they get older.
“With younger children, just talking about the story, the pictures in a book and the characters, and making connections from these to the child’s own life, can particularly improve their emotional development, confidence and understanding of the world. The advantages that children get from regular exposure to reading material in their early years have been found to last throughout their lives.”
Summer Stars at your local library provides the whole family with an opportunity to include regular reading and associated activities in your summer holiday entertainment.
As a ‘Contact and Collect’ service at many public library branches in Clare is now in operation, Summer Stars will be managed in the same way until libraries re-open their doors in July. Children can ask a parent/guardian to phone or email the local library to order their summer reads and a collection of six books for each child registered will be ready at a designated time at the library door. Children will receive a Summer Stars log card to track their reading.
Library staff will need to know the age of participants so that they can choose the most suitable books. Irish books and children’s non-fiction books can also be included.
This year, library staff are delighted to offer readers the option to include e-books and e-audio books downloadable for free from the library website to add to the Summer Stars reading experience.
Patricia Fitzgerald, Executive Librarian, Clare County Council, explains how to access library e-resources: “Simply choose ‘Borrowbox’ from the library’s list of e-resources on the library website homepage and log in with your library ID/barcode and password/PIN. With the help of a parent/guardian, children can download the app. From 15th June, there will be a Summer Stars section on Borrowbox which will have a range of children’s e-books and e-audio books with individual collections for children aged 0-4, 5-8, 9-12 and 13+.
“Remember to keep a lookout for the latest posts on Clare Library’s social media channels as there will be fun learning activities in the coming weeks for you to join as part of Summer Stars 2020. There will be words of encouragement from some of your favourite authors, and readings by Clare library staff.”
This year, Summer Stars is celebrating children’s imaginations by running a short story competition, which will be open to children all over Ireland.
Public libraries are calling on all six-to-18-year-olds to write a story, no more than 500 words, on An Unexpected Adventure. There are three age categories: 6-9, 10-14 and 15-18.
Patricia Fitzgerald adds: “There will be 15 finalists in each category and one national winner from each category. Each winner will receive a tablet and each finalist will receive a €50 voucher. That’s a lot of great prizes and a lot of chances to win, so let your imagination take you on an unexpected adventure and start writing!”
Summer Stars readers can:
Borrow books from branches of Clare County Library and electronically from the Borrowbox app since 15th June
Visit the Clare County Library Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media channels for regular Summer Stars postings throughout the summer
List the books they have read on their Summer Stars log card. Upon return of the log card to their library they will receive a Summer Stars Certificate in September.
The Summer Stars Reading Adventure is an element of the ‘Right to Read’ initiative, which is co-ordinated at national level by the Right to Read Steering Group, chaired by the Department of Rural and Community Development. Right to Read is an annual programme to support literacy and reading development across local authorities and is led locally by the public library service. Key elements of the Right to Read service currently include a network of local partners supporting and co-operating in literacy and reading development activities and a series of annual reading activities including Spring into Storytime, Summer Stars, Children’s Book Festival and Family Time at Your Library.