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Library program prevents the 'summer slide'

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By Katie Wheatley

 As parents and students enjoy their summer break, many parents are thinking about the family vacation, trips to the pool, how to keep children engaged in activities at home, the abrupt changes to everyone’s schedule — and how to juggle it all. 

What they might not be worrying about is how much educational ground their children could lose during the three-month break from school, particularly when it comes to reading. We refer to this as the “Summer Slide.” 

Experts have found children who read during the summer increase their reading skills, while those who do not slide backwards.

According to the authors of a report from the National Summer Learning Association: “A conservative estimate of lost instructional time is approximately two months or roughly 22 percent of the school year, it’s common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer. That month of re-teaching eliminates a month that could have been spent on teaching new information and skills.”  

Motivating your child to read can help keep your child off the “Summer Slide.” One of the most effective ways to encourage your children to love books and reading is to read aloud to them. You cannot start this too early. Even a baby of a few months can see pictures, listen to your voice and turn cardboard pages. Find ways to reward your children for completing reading tasks, tell them that you are proud of them and stay positive even when your child may become frustrated.  

The LaRue County Public Library is offering an incentive to help kids become motivated to read. For every book a child reads, they can enter into a drawing for an iPad – they just have to put their name and book title on an entry slip. It’s that easy. If a child reads 15 books this summer their name will be in the drawing 15 times. There is no limit on how many entries a child is allowed to have. This drawing is for all students up to age 17. The drawing will be held July 31. 

A child who reads an average of five books per month during summer break will avoid the “Summer Slide.”

I encourage everyone to take time with your child, bring them to the public library, get a library card, check out books and enter the drawing for an iPad. This is something that will be rewarding not only for your child but you as well.