The Best Summer @ Your Library

The American Library Association defines literacy as the ability to use “printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.” The development of literacy skills is crucial in a child’s academic trajectory, especially during early childhood and elementary school years. Exposure to language and reading builds vocabulary and sets the stage for future learning and academic achievement.

Studies show that the end of third grade is a critical milestone for students. Up to that point, the curriculum focuses on teaching students to learn to read. In fourth grade, students transition to reading in order to learn. If students can’t read, they can’t learn, and they fall further and further behind—which forces them onto a nearly inescapable path to poverty. The door of opportunity closes on them when they are barely four feet tall!

The “summer slide” is real. For decades, researchers have been studying this phenomenon of kids losing academic ground over the span of summer vacation. According to the National Summer Learning Association, kids can lose 1-3 months of learning over summer break.

So, what’s a parent to do? How about a little loitering at the library this summer? Register for SJCPLS’ Summer Reading Program, and encourage everyone in the family to browse the shelves or our online collection of eBooks and choose their own books. Studies show that reading as few as four or five books over the summer can have a positive impact similar to that of summer school enrollment.

Summer is a great time for discovery and exploration. Throughout the library system this summer, there will be programs and events for teens, adults, and families, too! St. Johns County libraries have something for everyone!

This year, turn the summer slide into family fun and learning. With six branch locations throughout St. Johns County, and a travelling Bookmobile, nobody has to take a break from learning this summer. I hope you’ll stop in, check out some materials to share together, and participate in one, or all, of our summer programs.  


Debra Rhodes Gibson

Library System Director, St. Johns County Public Library System

St. Johns County Public Library System