Reading changes lives!

Posted on January 12, 2020

Read this heartwarming and true story of one young man from Berryville who took on our Summer Reading Challenge in 2019 and found a whole new world of books, success and confidence.

8 Year Old Robinette Soars With Library Summer Reading Program

(October 22, 2019)–When 8 year old Christopher Robinette heard about the Berryville Public Library Summer Reading program during a special presentation held at his school, he wasn’t very excited or even motivated to take the information home to his mother.  He had visions of spending the summer staying at home watching TV and playing video games on his kindle.  However, his mother, Lori Robinette, had a different vision and signed him up to participate in the Berryville Library Summer Reading program.

In a recent candid interview with Robinette and his mother at the library, Christopher said he didn’t think he would like the library program and felt it might be boring to sit around with books all summer long.  He said the only thing that sounded fun was the program’s theme about Space.  As the summer reading program launched, little did Robinette know how his life was about to change. 

A most fitting name, Christopher Robin Robinette, a third grader in Ms. Melissa Woods class at Berryville Elementary has lived in Berryville all his life.  According to Woods, “At the end of school last year he was barely reading above a kindergarten level and rated a score of 150 on the Lexile reading scale.”   After spending the summer reading, his teacher reported that four months later, this October, Christopher more than doubled his reading score with a score of 330.  According to Woods, “not only has his reading improved, his writing has improved exponentially.”  Woods stated that reading is the core of understanding math problems, social studies and science, so we are seeing Chris excelling in all of these areas.   Because Chris is so much more confident in reading, Ms. Woods stated, he volunteers freely to read out loud to the class which is a definite change from last year.  ‘It has been amazing watching him blossom this year because of the added confidence he gained in learning to read.  I feel the involvement in reading he had through his enthusiastic participation in the summer reading program truly opened up a world of learning that will help him through the rest of his life’, Woods added.  It is proven that children who don’t read over the summer can actually regress in their reading skills by the time school begins in the Fall.

On his first day at the Summer Reading program, Christopher remembered some Junie B. Jones books they read in Mrs. McCullough’s 2nd grade classroom, so he decided to find those books first at the library.   To his surprise, the library had over 30 different Junie B. Jones books on the shelf.    He had no idea there were so many books as he began looking through each of them.  Then, Mary-Esther, a library employee showed Christopher the series of Geronimo Stilton books.   And something happened…..he began reading these books and says they were so interesting that he couldn’t put the books down.  

His mom recalled  over the summer,  he always had a book in his hand and if the television was on, he would immediately begin reading when a commercial came on and many times would lose track of when the commercial concluded and would continue reading through the rest of the program.    Christopher was even asking to go to bed an hour and a half early so that he could lie in bed and read before going to sleep.  His mom laughed and said she had a different little boy now that reading opened up this new world for him.  Even though the summer reading program has concluded, Christopher continues to read all the time.

Based on age, goals are set during the summer reading program for the number of books or hours read.   It didn’t take Christopher long to meet and begin exceeding all of his reading goals and by the end of summer, he was a top winner logging over 250 hours of reading.  Christopher, who said he had never received any awards or trophies in his life, earned top trophies for “Going Above & Beyond”, a ‘Shooting Star Trophy”, and the Black Hole Award.     The Summer Reading program also engages area businesses to provide prizes which are used as incentives to reward participants who meet their weekly reading goals.  A special Space Jam party was held at summer’s end for all goal achievers.    Chris recalled enjoying the ice cream, pizza, and sandwich coupons the most while he also enjoyed winning glow in the dark stickers of the constellations which still hang on his bedroom ceiling today. 

Christopher grinned from ear to ear during this interview about the success he achieved in learning how to read.  When asked if he had any advice for other kids like him who are wanting to start reading, his reply was to go visit the Library and find an author who writes about things you are interested in.   It will open up an entire world that will help you do better in school.

The Berryville Summer Reading Program is offered free to children and adults of all ages offering cool themes, learning opportunities, and wonderful prizes.  This year was the first year that the Berryville Schools supported the Berryville Library’s summer program by providing a reading bus which transported participating students to the library and provided lunch at no cost. 

In addition to the summer reading program, the Berryville Public Library offers year-round programming targeted for all ages, children through adult.  From book clubs to ‘take and make crafts’ to video gaming, there is something sure to please everyone regardless of their age.    Christopher’s mom Lori added, “And the best part about the Berryville Public Library, is that all the programs are FREE!”  “What a deal” she added.

The Berryville Public Library announced earlier this year at a Press Conference, it has embarked on a capital campaign to raise needed funds to build an expanded library on land donated by the City of Berryville.  The library has been in the same location for almost 30 years and additional space is needed to meet the growing needs of the community.  

Join Christopher Robin Robinette and open up a new dimension in your world by getting into a book today!  Come check one out at the library today!