Summer Reading is Fun

By Sharman Poplava

The best-loved author and storyteller, Dr. Seuss said, “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn the more places you’ll go.”

Dr. Seuss was a witty writer and clever with a rhyme, but he also spoke the truth. Strong reading skills will prepare children to go far, inside the classroom and later in life outside the classroom. Reading is key to your child’s happiness, confidence, and success in school.

Students who make achievement gains during the school year often experience reading loss or reversal over the summer. There are numerous studies reflecting the trend. So what’s a parent to do over the summer to encourage reading and stop the summer slide?

First, reading over the summer should be fun and entertaining. Choose books that have themes to match your child’s interests. The Darlington County Schools District provides a list of books to spur reading for enjoyment. Visit the district’s website at to access Accelerated Reader (AR) which offers reading choices for students in grades K-8.

Children in Hartsville can use the free summer bookmobile, a partnership project of the TEACH Foundation and the Darlington County School District. The bookmobile travels to 5 sites each Tuesday and Thursday for a total of 9 weeks ending August 3. The sites are: Pride Park, Byerly Park, Lawton Park, Centennial Park, the police department at the old Food Lion, Lee Street ball fields, 407 Mill Avenue in Oakdale, and Washington Street, West Hartsville and Thornwell elementary schools. Reading teachers staff the bookmobile and help children with book selections.

Second, take advantage of the free opportunities locally for you and your child to enjoy reading individually and as a family.

The county library is open year-round, but it really cranks up the activity in the summer. The Darlington County Library’s 2017 summer reading program, “Build a Better World” is currently in full swing. This year the program is interactive and online. There are reading teams for everyone including babies, kids, teens, and adults. Children can earn points, receive giveaways, and collect badges for doing all kinds of fun stuff over the summer like reading, playing games, going to library events, and experiencing things in the community.

The library branches are holding a variety of activities and performances that are literacy based. The Darlington branch activities meet on Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. and end on July 25. The schedule includes “Big Helpers” about roads, bridges and trucks on July 11; “Land Matters” with the Pee Dee Land Trust on July 18; and “Building Stories” with the Bright Star Touring Theater on July 25.

The Hartsville branch meets on Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m. The schedule includes “Science Tales” featuring “Casey’s Lunch and Learn Insane Science of Fairyland” on July 5; “The Wonders of Wildlife” conducted by the Lynches River County Park on July 12; “Bee Hive Alive” with the Wateree Beekeepers Association on July 19; and “Gus Goes Green” with the Bright Star Touring Theater on July 26.

Lamar has similar programs that meet every Tuesday at 2pm and the Society Hill branch has a varying schedule, which is available at
The library has interactive story time for the young ones in Hartsville on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. and the “Paws To Read” program in Darlington every first Saturday from 12:30 p.m. -1:30 p.m. and third Tuesday from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. “Paws to Read” allows children to read to dogs and cats creating positive emotional experiences. The “Brain Boosters” program is targeted to teens.

Check out the Tumblebook e-library database on-line for animated and talking picture books which you and your child can experience together. There are over 500 titles, including 300 picture books, 25 chapter books, and 50 non-fiction books available.

Lastly, talk to your child and surround them with words. Conversation builds a rich vocabulary and sets a base for strong grammar skills.

Take Sr. Seuss’s advice and help your child go places by make reading fun this summer.

To learn more about the TEACH Foundation’s Partners for Unparalleled Local Scholastic Excellence (PULSE) programs, visit the Foundation website at

Sharman Poplava is the Executive Director of the TEACH Foundation.

Author: Duane Childers

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