Sunday, July 14, 2024

Cashmere Library kicks off the summer with series read aloud program

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CASHMERE- Each week, the local library buzzes with activity as kids and parents gather to learn, read, and craft as part of the Cashmere Public Library’s many summertime events and programs, including their debut Series Read Aloud Program.  

Starting on June 18 and running each Tuesday at 4 p.m., the Summer Series Read Aloud encourages elementary and middle school-aged kids to visit the library and listen to chapters from various books as they draw and color. The major goal of the program is to introduce young readers to various genres, helping local kids further develop and discuss their reading interests. 

The Cashmere Public Library described the benefits of read-aloud programs, stating, “Reading aloud has been shown to help increase vocabulary, reading comprehension, improve literacy skills, develop imagination, reduce stress, and more!” 

Lisa Lawless, Cashmere Branch Librarian, expressed her excitement for this year’s summer programs as she pointed to the Summer Library Reading River, a wall filled with hundreds of paper salmon, which each represent a participant in the library’s summer programs,

“We’ve got over 300 signed up so far, everybody that’s signed up puts their fish up, so it’s a good indicator that our Summer Library Reading River is getting full. So that’s great, we want it to fill up!” 

The organizer and presenter of the Summer Series Read Aloud program, Ashley Harrod, commented on the Series Read Aloud and its aims, saying, “It’s something that we’re trying for the first time this summer. The books that we’re reading are different genres. So, the idea behind it is to introduce young readers, one: to the joys of reading, and two: to different authors and genres and types of books that they might not choose on their own just to sort of expand their reading horizons.”

Another major focus of the Series Read Aloud is encouraging young readers to engage further with the books and genres that they enjoy. The final fifteen minutes of each read-aloud event are open for kids to discuss their reading needs and interests with library staff, who are there to help them find resources for reading aloud and more books to explore.

Harrod further described her aim for encouraging engagement amongst young readers and their families, mentioning a problem that many older kids run into, “With a children’s storytime, like my coworker does for the zero to five age group, that one is fun because you can do the rhymes and the songs with the stories to get those kids engaged at times. For older kids, I think they lose a little bit of that engagement at times because a lot of it is like silent reading or reading that they’re doing on their own, and if they’re having a hard time with that book, that can be discouraging as a reader.”

Harrod continued, revealing her focus, “So, the idea is that we can read books together, and, of course, I encourage families to come as well. So, if parents are interested in any of our read-aloud resources, they’re more than welcome to take some of those with them.”

The read-aloud resources provided at each of the Tuesday events are sourced from readaloud.org, a website that spreads awareness about the benefits of reading aloud with children. Resources include a range of helpful materials, from read-aloud calendars and bookmarks that help families track their reading to informational worksheets for parents to help their children further explore the opportunities of literacy. 

Harrod concluded her thoughts with an important statement, saying, “Even fifteen minutes of reading aloud a day is incredibly beneficial to helping expose children to different words and vocabulary to build those critical thinking skills and those language skills, and it doesn’t take a lot of time to do that.” 

For more information about the Cashmere Public Library’s Summer Series Read Aloud and their Summer Library Program as a whole, visit ncwlibraries.org or call (509) 782-3314 ext. 272. 

Will Nilles: (509) 731-3211 or will@ward.media

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