Summer days, summer nights, summer READING...

Summer Reading. Does any term conjure up more pleasant images?  Soft breezes, iced tea (or perhaps a Long Island iced tea) by your side, a cool, comfortable spot and a great read ahead of you. We even have a name for such reads -– “beach reads,” as though that were the only place for them.  Personally, all that sand and sun –- reading is the last thing on my mind at the beach as I slowly rotisserie myself –- but that’s me. But on my porch?  Heaven! Check out some of our summer reading recommendations.

I also have a couple of favorites for those who like their summer reading a bit weightier, yet still fast reading. I recommend a wonderful book titled How Literature Saved My Life by David Shields. It’s dark, very dark, and funny, very funny. And, as with the best of any of my favorite books –- both at the same time! AND it’s about other books. Does it get any better than that? Seriously, it’s a series of ruminations, strewn with literary references, and yet it reads quite quickly because you feel as though you’re just having a conversation with the author. Also loved an older book I picked up recently titled Da Vinci’s Ghost by Toby Lester. Lester does a masterful job of writing something of substance in the most readable way. You’re learning things, particularly about the Vitruvian man picture, but he does it in such a readable manner it feels more like a literary mystery. And as if that weren’t enough -- there is even a formal Adult Summer Reading Program kicking off here at this library on June 29. Read a book, fill out a review and be entered into a weekly prize drawing (such as gift cards for books, restaurants & more) -- just for sharing your review! See our website for additional information, or email Louise Moulton, our Program Coordinator at

But for young children, summer reading holds special importance. Children need summer reading in order to reenter school in September at the same reading level they were when school ended the previous June. Studies have shown that children not reading during the summer can lose up to two full grade levels. Yikes! That’s not just a statistic we throw out casually. Falling behind grade level reading is an incredibly accurate predictor of school success overall. That’s why Providence Mayor Tavares, as well as Mayors throughout the country, are pushing initiatives that stress obtaining grade level reading by 3rd grade. But guess what?  An even more wonderful thing happens when children read over the summer. They get a chance to fall in love with reading for the sheer pleasure of it. Show me a child who reads for pleasure broadly and often, and I’ll show you a successful adult 20 years later. All the public libraries in the state participate in the Dig Into Reading Summer Reading Program, sponsored by the R. I. Office of Library and Information Services. Check out our full listing of all the summer reading events going on here at this library.

Help your child keep reading this summer because it’s important to their school success; encourage them to read for fun by helping them chose books on topics they’re really curious about; and get recommendations from your childrens librarians on books that will draw the young reader into other worlds.

Lastly, a point about reading for all ages. I read somewhere recently (forgive me oh gods of citation because I can’t remember where I read it) that one of the primary predictors of psychologically healthy adulthood was the ability to empathize with others unlike yourself. Is there any better –- or easier -- way to foster that than reading?  And is there any more important trait in this uncertain and contentious world today than being able to put yourself in the other guy’s shoes?! Now go forth and READ.



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