Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Library Turned around 'Summer Slide'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Library Turned around 'Summer Slide'

Article excerpt

Byline: Barbara Gubbin

More than 8,000 Duval County students have started school with an advantage over their peers, all because they participated in the Summer Reading program at the Jacksonville Public Library.

These children and teens read more than 43,000 books between June 11 and Aug. 16.

More than 1,500 kids under 12 read at least 10 books each this summer.

This dedication was rewarded with free tickets to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and a special celebration for top readers and their families at the zoo last week, courtesy of the Jacksonville Public Library Foundation.

By combining reading with programs and activities that are both educational and entertaining, the library kept young minds engaged over the summer, helping students avoid that slippery slope known as the "summer slide."

"Summer slide" is the term experts give to the learning loss children experience when taking a lengthy break from school, particularly when it comes to reading and math. It is common for teachers to spend a month or more re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer.

SUMMER PROGRAMS WORK

A study conducted by the Dominican University Graduate School of Library & Information Science showed that students who participated in public library summer reading programs scored higher on reading achievement tests at the beginning of the next school year than those students who didn't participate.

Summer reading helps students return to school ready to learn, improves achievement, motivates and inspires and increases their enjoyment of reading, the study showed.

Reading just five books during the summer can prevent a decline in a child's reading scores in the fall.

Through the library's summer reading programs, infants to teens can actually climb to new heights on the literacy ladder. …

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