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Booking it 2023
Summer reading continues
The Summer Reading Program at the Great Bend Public Library was never only about books. Shown here, VolunTeens make dog and cat toys for the Golden Belt Humane Society during an activity on Tuesday, July 25. - photo by photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

The Great Bend Public Library’s Summer Reading Program comes to a close this week but summer is far from over and there are still books to read.

We’ve enjoyed the library’s summer programs, starting with a musical kickoff in June and continuing with puppets, magic, games and more over the past eight weeks. Besides that, teachers tell us that summer reading is important because it helps children retain the knowledge and skills that they learned during the past school year and gives them a head start when school resumes, which it will in less than a month. Our brains need exercise to stay in shape and good reading material actually expands what we know.

Reading itself is a lot of fun. A good way to discover that is by visiting the library. Whatever a child (or adult) is interested in, readers can always find books they love.

Book lovers assure us that books are better than the internet and social media. Reading a physical book involves the tactile experience of holding it and turning its pages. It involves sensory experiences not available when reading from a screen, and there is no worry about data breaches or online privacy issues. Books are definitely more reliable than social media for information, although good and bad ideas exist in published books as well as online. It is always important to know the source of the content you’re reading. 

It is also possible to read a book online or listen to an audiobook.

It doesn’t have to be an either/or choice. In one survey, students said eBooks are better than print books when they are traveling or when they don’t want their friends to see what they’re reading. Children can listen to audiobooks while doing chores. Print books are best for sharing with friends and bedtime reading. Other reading materials, including this item in the Great Bend Tribune, can be read in a physical paper or online as the reader prefers. 

The newest edition of Scholastics’ Kids & Family Reading Report notes that children are still playing catch-up from the pandemic, making summer reading even more important. Tweens (12-17 years old) who read more report having better mental health than infrequent readers.

So, as the library’s Summer Reading Program draws to a close, don’t give up on summer reading. The library is still open and there’s still more to read.