Beating the Standardized Testing Blues with Libraries!
Now that school is back in session, students all over the country are getting ready for a few weeks of standardized tests that have become the reality every school year. Regardless of one’s opinion about the effectiveness of these tests, no one can argue that they wear students out. It’s pretty easy for kids and teens to get demoralized with day after day of multiple choice and essays. Certainly, they can expend some of their restlessness by running around in the park or by vegging out in front of the TV, those are both decent options. However, I contend that the library is the best antidote to the testing blues.
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Whether its a public or school library, kids go there to regain a sense of what learning is supposed to be like. Libraries have the ideal combination of structured and unstructured activity options, allowing each child to select what most fulfills them. While in school, especially during testing, students are kept to a tight schedule and forced to prove their knowledge of specified subjects on demand, at a library, on the other hand, they can let their curiosity run wild!
Is your child interested in reptiles? Shipwrecks? Star Wars? All okay. Do they want to read Highlights, Sports Illustrated for Kids, American Girl? Fantastic! After a hard day, there is nothing like some fun reading to re-kindle their love of discovery! And its not just reading material that does this. Youth services librarians spend plenty of time every week planning educational and entertaining programs for kids of all ages.
Few things wipe away the brain-numbing effects of standardized testing like singing karaoke in the library meeting room, playing board games with friends, or experimenting with robotics during a specialized workshop. All three of these activities are sample programs that promote appropriate social interaction and self-expression, and give young people a way to blow-off a little steam.
Yet, not all students get a sense of release from rowdy facilitated programs. There are plenty of kids and teens out there that want nothing more than to quietly relax after a day of testing with a beloved book or puzzle game on their phone. In those cases, it is library furniture that becomes the most timely service offering; anyone who has spent time with teens or tweens knows that they naturally drape themselves over anything with cushions. It is not uncommon in libraries to find groups of teens quietly reading together or playing on their phones in positions that resemble Dali’s clocks.
Whatever the age or temperament of the student, it makes sense that a little release is called-for after days of high-pressure testing. Luckily, libraries give young people all manner of opportunities to refresh and re-charge. So if your kid is in the midst of standardized exams, or has some coming up, do them a favor and plan a trip to the library.