An article this week in the Los Angeles Times reminded me that children's programs in our libraries help keep their skills sharp, especially during the summer when they are not in school. According to the article ("Keeping pupils' skills sharp," LAT Extra, July 7), a new study by the Rand Corporation has documented that children lose two to three months of reading and math skills while on break, and that the problem is particularly acute for lower-income children with limited access to travel, museums, libraries and other enriching experiences. Though people often think that this refers only to children in the lower grades, it in fact applies to some extent to all young students.
To help combat this problem, summer programs are sometimes held in schools and museums, often funded by grants from various foundations. Most public libraries have yearly summer programs for children, ranging in age from toddlers to teens. Costa Mesa's two full-service libraries have regularly had outstanding children's programs, funded by the Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries.