Palo Alto/ Santa Clara California
Keeping kids and teens engaged with reading throughout the summer often presents a challenge for parents. With longer days, there are a multitude of summertime activities begging for a child’s attention and it can become difficult to build upon achievement gains their child has made throughout the school year. One of the best ways to help combat this “summer slide,” however, is through reading. Having children read for a little as 15 minutes a day can greatly impact learning and help them make greater strides during the following school year.
In a partnership with Keepy, the easy-to-use app that helps organize children’s artwork, school work and mementos in one safe place, the Santa Clara City Library is helping students reach their summer reading goals.
Keepy, based in Palo Alto, and the Santa Clara City Library were brought together by a parent who uses the app for organizing, saving and sharing his children’s keepsakes. Realizing the app could be used to further engage their child’s reading experience, the parent introduced Keepy founder and CEO Offir Gutelzon to the library, where both parties quickly saw the benefit of using technology to engage readers. This new partnership allos parents to utilize the app’s video and voice narration to take a photo and record their child’s book reviews and share them with friends, family and on the Santa Clara City Library’s gallery page at <http://keepy.me/santaclaracitylibrary/>.
Parents and libraries across the country are consistently attempting to find ways to get students excited about reading, with libraries creating summer reading programs that allow students to read and log the books they read while winning prizes for meeting or exceeding their goals. In the past, students involved in these programs would read a book, track it and move on to the next. Now, new technology is allowing thousands of students to stay better connected to the books they read and more engaged with the community.
In a 2013 study done at Emory University, “Short- and Long-Term Effects of a Novel on the Connectivity in the Brain,” it was found that becoming engrossed in a novel enhances connectivity in the brain and improves brain function. Fiction reading, in particular, was found to improve a reader’s ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and flex their imagination. Children who read not only develop larger vocabularies than their non-reading counterparts, but have better overall communication skills.
“Last year, over 5,000 people signed up for Santa Clara City Library’s Summer Reading Program,” said Gutelzon. “Summer reading programs create an important role in combating ‘summer slide’ by keeping kids and teens engaged in reading. Thousands of kids have already signed up for the program and I can’t wait to see their creativity recording book reviews . We are very excited to expand Keepy as educational technology to help increase reading engagement during the summer by encouraging kids and teens to share the book reviews on an ongoing basis. We look forward to expanding this program with more schools and libraries in the coming future.”
Parents can download the Keepy app for free on iOS and Android and record their child reviewing the book they read using the application’s photo, video and voice features. The end result is shared only with friends and family who have been invited to view the content. Viewers can also make comments in video, voice or text to further encourage the reader to continue their love of reading.
“I love the idea that library patrons will have a place to share what they’re reading with others,” said Erin Ulrich, Program Coordinator for Youth Services at the Santa Clara Library. “Kids always want suggestions for books, and parents do, too. If they go to the gallery, they may see something that piques their interest. I think it’s a great concept.”
Students participating in the Santa Clara City Library Summer Reading Program receive a paperback book upon turning in their reading log. Parents choosing to use Keepy to upload videos of their child reviewing what they’ve read will have the opportunity to win additional prizes.