Florence County, SC - By Alisha Laventure
FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - When forced to choose between reading and playing outdoors, most kids tend to pass on the books.
So, libraries in the Pee Dee area have created summer programs to encourage children to read.
Paula Childers is the children's services manager at the Florence County Library and says illiteracy is a big problem in the area.
"A lot of children need this type of service that we offer," Childers said. "We have great incentives to keep encouraging them to read during the summer time."
The goal of these programs is help children maintain their reading skills until they return to school in the fall. Childers says children's literacy skills tend to drop during the summer since they are out of school.
The programs offered at the Florence County Library are open to children of all ages. Younger children meet on Wednesday afternoons and teenagers meet on Thursdays. The more children read, the more prizes they can win.
But not all children need incentives to read. Six-year-old Chance Slon from Bennettsville has reasons for doing so.
"It makes you smart," Slon said. "It helps you get to first grade."
The library has created "Grandfamily Time," giving grandparents a chance to read with their grandchildren. Childers says reading with a parent or grandparent can play a big role in helping their child to improve their reading.
Even if children are unable to attend the programs at the library, Childers encourages them to read whenever and where ever they can.
"We want you to read all throughout the summer because it will make a difference throughout your life," Childers said.
Reading programs are available at other branches of the Florence County Library system and are free of charge at all locations.