Staff from Toronto Public Library are giving grade 4 students “missions” that require them to visit their local library branch. “Operation Super Sleuth” is part of the library’s Grade 4 Outreach program that lets kids know about all the things available to them at the library. Each mission card also has recommended books by Canadian authors. After staff had visited one school, a mother reported that her child had called her while she was still at work to insist that they HAD to visit the library that evening to complete their missions. The mother was astonished by the level of enthusiasm.
Grade 4 Outreach is part of Toronto Public Library’s commitment to promote the joy of reading. Researchers have found that kids who were eager readers when little may lose interest around ages 9 – 10. This is a problem because children who do not read for pleasure do not do as well on reading and writing tests.
For the 2016/17 school year, the goal is to visit 100% of the schools in Neighbourhood Improvement Areas and 75% of the other classes in both the Toronto District School Board and Toronto District Catholic School Board.
With school librarian jobs being cut and children spending so much time on screens, programs that promote reading are more important than ever. For the past two years, Friends of Toronto Public Library – South Chapter, who run the used book store at Toronto Reference Library, have donated $50,000 towards Grade 4 Outreach. When you donate or buy a used book from the library’s used books stores, you help support children’s literacy programs like Grade 4 Outreach.