It's that time of year again. The time when I'm thrilled that my kids are thrilled to sign up for Milwaukee Public Library's Super Reader summer reading program.
This year's program kicked off on Monday, May 19 and runs through Thursday, Aug. 28 (MPS is back in session on Tuesday, Sept. 2). Kids can visit any MPL branch and sign up for free. They'll get a Super Reader yard sign or window cling and a sheet to track their reading over the summer.
Each time they complete a level, they can head back to the library and get a prize. At the end of summer they'll get more goodies, like free books, food coupons and admission to area attractions.
My kids couldn't wait to sign up last year and this year was no different. We stopped after school yesterday and left with our yard signs and impressive -- and perhaps daunting (to me, but not apparently to them) -- stacks of books to get started.
This morning at breakfast, they shaded in the progress circles based on yesterday's reading and were proud of their early progress. Last week, one of them said, "I think I'm becoming a book person."
Music to a parent's ears.
According to the National Summer Learning Association says that the "summer slide" -- that is kids' absence from the classroom -- affects their progress and also negatively affects the achievement gap.
"Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months," according the NSLA's web site. "Low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement, despite the fact that their middle-class peers make slight gains.
"More than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities."
Read to your kids. Let your kids see you read for pleasure and create life-long readers and life-long learners. Buy them books. If they're too expensive at bookshops, go to a resale shop, pick some up at a rummage sale ('tis the season) or a Little Free Library. They will treasure their own little library at home.
Before school ends, ask your school principal or librarian (if there is one and I sure hope there is) for resources for obtaining books to keep your kids learning over the summer.
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