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Don’t slip into summer slide: RPL is here to help

By Sydney Smith

Rowan Public Library

Any teacher or educator can tell you it’s an especially exciting time of the year. Our students are itching to take a break from school, and the sweet release of summer is only a few short weeks away. The warmer weather wakes up our students’ urges to get outside, take vacations and spend lazy days with friends and families without the stress of schoolwork.

While the approaching summer break is an exciting time for students, their teachers can tell you a major concern they feel as they watch their students leave the building for an extended period away from school: the dreaded Summer Slide.

Summer Slide is a term coined to describe the slippage in reading ability and other academic skills students may experience during extended leave from school, such as summer break. When students aren’t actively engaged in their normal, regular classroom routines, the academic skills they worked hard to build during the previous school year can show decreases when they enter a new school year.

Daily practice of a variety of classroom skills, such as reading and writing, will improve steadily over time when a student is actively engaged in practicing them on a daily basis. However, long breaks from regular instruction and practice threaten the loss of that growth. Summer break sings the promises of relaxation, but also the possibility of academic skill decline before entering new classes in August.

Never fear: As worrisome as Summer Slide sounds, there are many ways to combat it by engaging our students’ minds during summer break. Rowan Public Library offers a variety of awesome, free resources and events to keep our students (as well as our patrons who may no longer be in school) thinking and problem-solving all summer long.

Encouraging students to continue reading lots of great books from the public library is a fantastic way to keep those literacy skills sharp throughout the break. Rowan County students can use their district-issued ID numbers to check out physical books from all three branches of Rowan Public Library as well as the eBooks and eAudiobooks from the NC Digital Library. The ID numbers can also gain them access to the library’s computers and a variety of other online databases and programs at no charge.

Rowan Public Library also hosts an array of Summer Reading programs to keep patrons of all ages engaged in exciting, meaningful learning experiences during the schools’ summer break. The many programs are geared towards all ages and offer a little something for everyone, from infants to adults. The opportunities for programs for each age group also occur weekly during the summer, which is a great way to keep minds actively engaged on a regular basis during the break.

This year’s theme for Summer Reading programs is “A Universe of Stories,” celebrating the anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. If you’re interested in an out-of-this-world way to combat Summer Slide, Rowan Public Library will serve as an excellent resource for students and patrons of all ages this summer.

RPL Book Sale: Headquarters, May 2, 3 and 4, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; May 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; May 7, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. It’s time to buy books. Browse RPL’s annual spring Book Sale, held in the Stanback Auditorium at RPL Headquarters. Items will be $2 or less May 2-6; all items will be half-price on Tuesday, May 7. Selections replenished daily as inventory allows. When inventory is gone, the sale ends; a closing notice will be posted on www.RowanPublicLibrary.org. Call 704-216-8243 for more information.

Spring Fever Scavenger Hunt: Headquarters, through April 30. It’s time to beat the winter blues and see how everything comes to life in the spring with a scavenger hunt in the children’s room. Children who complete the scavenger hunt will be entered into a contest for a prize. For more information, call 704-216-8234.

Who Was?: East, through April 30. Can you recognize famous scientists from their picture? This scavenger hunt features our popular Who Was series. Find them all and be entered into a contest for a literary-themed prize. For more information, contact Tammie at 704-216-7842.

Solar Science: East, Tuesday, 4-5 p.m. Children 7 to 12 will make solar ovens and their own tasty, melted treats. Then they’ll enjoy their solar-baked snacks while learning more about RPL’s space-themed summer reading program. A responsible caretaker (age 16+) must accompany children 8 and under. For more details, call 704-216-7842. To learn more about the NC Science Festival, visit ncsciencefestival.org.

Star Wars Day in the Children’s Room: Headquarters, May 3, noon-4 p.m. Travel to a galaxy far, far away and celebrate Star Wars with games, crafts and snacks in this drop-in event. A responsible caretaker (age 16+) must accompany children 8 and under. This program is geared toward kids 3-10. For more details, call 704-216-8234.

Friends of RPL Free Concert Series: Headquarters, Tuesday, 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Adam Miller will perform “Folksongs of the Great American Railroad.” This concert celebrates the rich cultural history of America’s railroads and the first transcontinental railroad in North America that opened for through-traffic on May 10, 1869. For more details, call 704-216-8243. After the April concert, the Friends of RPL Free Concert Series will be on hiatus until the fall. Look for information about the next concert in August.

Gardening Party Saturdays: South, May 4, 11 a.m. Gardening is cheaper than therapy – and you get tomatoes. Come join us Saturday mornings for Gardening Party, a monthly club. This month’s program will feature a Wild Tea Party. Questions? Call Paulette at 704-216-7731.

Book Bites Club: South, Tuesday, 6 p.m. This month’s selection is “Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood. Refreshments will be served and new members are welcome. Questions? Contact Paulette at Paulette.Stiles@rowancountync.gov.

Genealogy Workshop: Headquarters, May 11, 10 a.m. “Early Rowan Roots” will explore resources for early Scots/Irish and German immigrants to the greater colonial Rowan area. Co-hosted by the Genealogical Society of Rowan County and the Edith M. Clark History Room of RPL, this program is free and open to the public. Call Gretchen at 704-216-8232 for more details.

Displays: Headquarters, Sexual Assault Awareness Month by Rowan Helping Ministries, Celebration of National Library Week by Rowan Public Library, North Carolina Railroad Maps; East, Rockwell Civitans; South, Family Crisis Council.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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