Summer reading programs give kids a leg up

Summer reading programs
Published: Jul. 16, 2013 at 6:51 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 16, 2013 at 8:10 PM EDT
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Myrtle Beach (WMBF) - When it comes to illiteracy, 10-year-old Paz Gibson won't become one of South Carolina's statistics. Four days a week during the summer, she gets help with reading at the Chapin Memorial Library and her grandmother says it's working.

"She knows how to break down sentences and words and she's into poetry right now," says Colleen Wilson.

The Palmetto State has some of the highest illiteracy rates in the nation according to the Horry County Literacy Council, and being able to read as an adult starts when you are young. Currently nearly 40 percent of fourth-graders in South Carolina do not meet state standards for reading, but the summer reading program at most libraries is trying to change that.

"If children don't read during the summer, their skills diminish, and if they keep reading during the summer, their skills increase," says the youth librarian at Chapin Memorial Library, Sue Ellen Wilson.

Most libraries in the state offer incentives for kids to read during the summer. If you sign up for Dig Into Reading or Beneath the Surface at the Chapin Memorial Library and fulfill the requirements, you get a certificate and free ice cream from Chick-fil-A for five hours of reading. Ten hours of reading gets you a t-shirt and a free pretzel from Auntie Ann's. Fifteen hours of reading gets kids a medal and a day pass to Myrtle Waves.

"The real goal is for children to read and become better readers so that when they enter school in the fall they will be proficient in reading and not have gone back in their reading and also that they find a book they love and cherish and remember," says Wilson.

It's not too late to sign up for a summer reading program. There are still several weeks left of summer and literally tons of books to read.