Another Summer Reading Program at the McPherson Public Library is underway. What we do each summer, as well as how we do it, have changed over the years, but one thing has stayed the same: Our goal of getting children excited about books, reading, discovery, and libraries. And we will never cease to be excited about doing that.
It’s very important that parents, grandparents, and everyone else responsible for children this summer bring them to the library to check out books and participate in some of the many fun activities we have scheduled. It’s important for kids to visit the library and exercise their minds, to keep that reading connection alive, and to keep learning over the summer.
Taking your children to the public library is even more important now, in this digital age. While the prevalence of children reading eBooks and reading books online is increasing, research clearly indicates that these media are inferior in many ways when compared to print books – which you will find in abundance at the public library.
Our brains perceive and learn from print books as if they were geography. Paper is a physical medium and scientists have discovered that we construct mental maps of the text we read, often picturing it in our minds on a particular page. The pages themselves, and the weight of the paper contribute to this topography.
But when we read books on a screen, our comprehension of what we read is diminished because our brains have no real sense of place with the text. Research indicates that screen-based reading not only dulls our comprehension, but that we remember less of what we read as well. And it also has been proven to be more tiring than reading a paper text.
If this isn’t bad enough for children, when people read a book on a screen, they are less inclined to engage with the text, reread difficult sections, and mentally review what they’ve taken in or learned along the way.
As cognitive scientist Maryanne Wolfe wrote in Scientific American, “There is a physicality in reading, maybe even more than we want to think about as we lurch into digital reading – as we move forward perhaps with too little reflection.”
We all want the best for our children, so this summer, visit the McPherson Public Library and get some print books into their hands. And if they aren’t sure what to read, our knowledgeable children’s services staff are here to assist them in finding the right book to capture their interest. It’s a quality experience that McPherson families have enjoyed for a great many years, and can expect in the future as well.