While there was lots of fun yesterday when Mark the Magician entertained more than 50 youngsters at Puke Ariki library, there was also a serious aspect to the event.
A 2012 Massey University study found that reading ages of children at the bottom of the reading ability ladder can slip by up to six months over the Christmas holidays.
To avoid the "summer reading slide" the library ran the summer reading programme to encourage youngsters to keep reading during their break.
And it's working for Harrison Martin, 7, who had read an impressive 23 books over the holidays.
Mum, Sue said the programme was "brilliant".
Harrison joined up last year after his reading dropped below average the summer before.
"It took us two terms, maybe going into the third term, to catch up. So, this is fabulous."
After attending the programme last year Harrison's reading is at a good level, Mrs Martin said.
"Without this I hate to think where we'd be."
Puke Ariki Library Discover it! team leader Debs Price-Ewen said there were 75 children involved at Puke Ariki and 225 across the district. And there was a waiting list, she said.
The children get a folder and a bag and every time they ‘check in' they get an incentive, such as a hat. At the end they get a bonus prize of a book.
This year Friends of Puke Ariki are supporting the programme, Mrs Price-Ewen said.
She helps choose books for the children, gets them to read a page out loud, and picks up any words they don't recognise, know the meaning of or can't pronounce.
"To improve their vocabulary they have to learn about that word. If they have more than three words on that page then the book is too hard for them."
The magician was a treat for the children and next week author Isaac Drought from Oakura will visit.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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