What should your child read this summer?

Do you have a plan to make sure your child has lots of reading opportunities this summer?  Several studies have documented a “summer slide” in reading skills once kids go on summer vacation.  And the loss compounds each year.

Research offers a surprisingly simple and affordable solutions:  Bring your youngsters to the library and let them choose their own books.  Even better, sign them up for the Summer Reading Program for free fun learning experiences and prizes.

In a three-year study, researchers at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville found that simply giving children access to books  – and allowing them to choose books that interested them – had a significant effect on the summer reading gap.

Children who chose their own books and those who were given activity and puzzle books were tracked for three years.  Those who could select their own books posted significantly higher test scores than the children who received books from others.  The effect was equivalent to a child attending three years of summer school.  And the difference in scores was twice as high among the poorest children in the study.

Another of the notable findings of the study was that children improved their reading scores even though they typically weren’t selecting the curriculum books or classics that teachers normally assign for summer reading.  That conclusion confirms other studies suggesting that children learn best when they are allowed to select their own books.

Bottom line:  What should your children read this summer?  Being them to the library and let them decide for themselves, because any books will do!

Summer Reading Program

Your library’s free Summer Reading Program is underway now with the theme of “Build a Better World,” special activities for all ages and prizes for participation.  Stop by the front desk to register and pick up your Bingo sheet.  Mark your calendars for the closing celebration party Friday, July 28 from 4:30-6 p.m. when prizes will be presented and everyone will enjoy music, crafts and snacks.

Activities calendars available

To be sure you don’t miss any of the free Summer Reading Program activities available to you and your families at your library, we encourage you to pick up a copy of the events calendar each month.  There are three versions – kids, tweens/teens and adults.

Book fair

Mark your calendars for this summer’s Friends of the Library book fair at the Centerpoint Church near Walmart – Friday, August 11 at 5 p.m. for the Friends’ potluck, annual meeting and advance book sale, and Saturday, August 12 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. for the public sale.

Summer Reading Club for kids

Every Thursday in June we’re hosting different free fun events from 10:30 a.m. – noon for kids.  Today (June 15) you’ll learn about trees and you’ll plant your own seedling.  June 22 you’ll learn about construction by building a cardboard house.  June 29 you’ll help in the outside garden.

All-ages movie tomorrow

Join us tomorrow (Friday, June 16) from 2-3:30 p.m. for a free G-related movie suitable for all ages.  Our contract does not allow us to identify the film titles in the media but you can find them listed on the activities calendars.

Teen book club tomorrow

Friday, June 16 from 2-3 p.m. seventh-12th graders will discuss “The Inventor’s Secret” by Andrea Cremer and enjoy free snacks.

Special Otaku session for teens

The free Otaku (Anime/Manga) Club for fifth-12th grades meets on Monday, June 19 from 4-5 p.m.  This is a special Cosplay Tea Party event.  We’ll have several kinds of tea to sample, along with snacks.  You’re encouraged – but not required – to come in costume.

New teen writers group

Join Claire on Wednesday, June 21 from 4-5 p.m. for the first of our free teen writers meetings for seventh-12 graders.  This new group is a spinoff from the highly popular Fan Fiction Club.  If there is enough interest, this will become a recurring event.

DIY for adults

At this month’s free DIY event on Wednesday, June 21 at 1 p.m. we’ll turn an ordinary cardboard box into a cute and practical box using natural rope.  No registration required.

Steampunk crafts

Next Thursday, June 22, back by popular demand, is the another free teen program called steampunk crafts from 4-5:30 p.m. for fifth-12th graders.  We’ll make jewelry, ornaments and knickknacks out of keys, gears, coins and other odds and ends.

Adult learning

Our free PALS (Pagosa Adult Learning Services) program is cutting back to one day a week for the summer.  Stop by on Tuesdays from 3-7 p.m. to let Mark help you with high school equivalency, college prep, financial aid, tutoring and more.  In previous years such adult learning was on vacation for the summer, so we are very pleased to have money in the budget to keep it going one day a week for June, July and August.  When school starts in the fall, we’ll expand the PALS hours.

Teen gaming

Free teen gaming happens every Tuesday from 4–5:30 p.m. for teens in the 7th-12th grades.  Enjoy X-box 360 Kinect, Wii and snacks.

Tech sessions

Drop in with your technology questions for free help on Tuesdays from 10 a.m.-noon and Thursdays from 2-4 p.m.

Kids storytime

Every Wednesday from 10-11 a.m., join us for free great stories, fun songs and plenty of reasons to get up and move. This is an excellent way for kids of all ages to have fun while building the skills they need to become independent readers.

Baby storytime

Every Saturday from 9:05 to 9:25 a.m., join us for a free short session of stories, songs and fingerplays for you and your little ones.  Learn easy tips on how to include literacy skills into everyday family life.

Toddler storytime   

Every Saturday from 9:30–10 a.m., join us for 30 minutes of free stories, songs and fingerplays with open play afterwards.  Learn easy tips on how to include literacy skills in everyday family life.

How-to and self-help

“Designed to Move” by Dr. Joan Vernikos is a program to fight sitting disease and enjoy lifelong health.  “Wake Up to the Joy of You” by Agapi Stassinopoulos provides 52 meditations and practices for a calmer, happier life.  “Real World Mindfulness for Beginners” edited by Brenda Salgado offers advice and mindfulness exercises.  “Clear Home, Clear Heart” by Jean Haner helps you clear your energy and that of others to bring harmony to your space.  “Chair Yoga” by Kristin McGee gives you more than 100 yoga poses and exercises.  “Knock ‘Em Dead:  The Ultimate Job Search Guide 2017” by Martin Yate outlines strategies for success.  “Knock ‘Em Dead Cover Letters,” also by Martin Yate, shows how to write letters that get noticed, read and action.

Other nonfiction

“Will’s Red Coat” by Tom Ryan is the story of a broken old dog and the man who gave him a second chance.  “The Patterns Collection” by Victoria Rose features 80 digitally modified photos of patterns – nature, flowers, trash and man-made, with some proceeds from the sale of the book going to the Pagosa Springs Humane Society. “Accuplacer Math” by Barron’s helps you score well on these three standardized math tests.  “Greywater Green Landscape” by Laura Allen shows you how to reuse water from sinks, showers and laundry.


“The Paradise” is season two.  “The Expanse” is season one.  “The Mystery of Chaco Canyon” is narrated by Robert Redford.  “How the West Was Won” is the classic starring multiple big-name actors.  “The Salesman” in Farsi with English subtitles won this year’s Academy Award for best foreign film.  “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” is the classic starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn.  “House” is the complete season four.


“16th Seduction” by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro is the newest Murder Club mystery.  “Robert B. Parker’s Little White Lies” by Ace Atkins is a Spenser mystery.  “Golden Prey” by John Stanford is a Lucas Davenport thriller.  “Brutal Night of the Mountain Men” by William W. and J.A. Johnstone is a western.

Thrillers, mysteries and suspense

“Reservations” by Gwen Florio begins with a bombing on Arizona’s Navajo Reservation.  “Some Rise by Sin” by Philip Caputo is set in a Mexican village menaced by a cruel, cultish drug cartel.  “Ill Will” by Dan Chaon starts when a brother is released from prison after DNA analysis overturned his conviction.

Other novels

“Red Sister” by Mark Lawrence is the first book in the new Ancestor fantasy series.  “Celestial Mechanics” by William Least Heat-Moon follows an amateur astronomer whose marriage is in trouble.

Programmed Nooks

We have nine free Nooks and three free tablets programmed for your e-reading pleasure.  The eight adult content e-readers contain either fiction or nonfiction bestsellers.  The four youth e-readers contain books for children, juniors and young adults.

Downloadable e-books

Current New York Times bestseller downloadable e-books are being added regularly to our free 3M Cloud Library. Access them by clicking on the 3M Cloud Library icon on the home page of our website.  While there, browse through a multitude of other adult, juvenile and children’s books, both bestsellers and classics in many genres.

Downloadable films

For your viewing pleasure, we offer IndieFlix, a free streaming movie service that gives you unlimited access to more than 7,500 award-winning and popular independent shorts, feature films and documentaries from more than 50 countries – on your device, PC or Mac, with no apps needed.  Access IndieFlix through the Downloadable Content icon on the library’s website.  Use “Quick Pick,” the discovery tool that lets you sample movies like you would music.

Thanks to our donors

For books and materials this week we thank Jim Quigley, Mike Coppenger and our anonymous donors.   For his generous monetary donation, we thank Ron Tinsley.

Quotable Quote

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” – Abraham Lincoln

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