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Burdette: Avoiding the summer slide

Dear Editor,

School is officially out for the summer but something is waiting for many children each summer and their parents may not even know it’s out there.  It is called the “Summer Slide”. And no, it is not a new slide on the playground.  It is what happens when children are out of school for the summer and do little or no reading or do not engage in educational activities during the summer months. Experts agree that children who read during the summer gain reading skills, while those who do not often slide backward.

Research shows that the key to preventing summer slide is finding ways to get books into the hands of children.  The more children read the better their fluency, vocabulary and comprehension will be.  Studies show that children who read at least sixth grade level books over the summer maintain the level of reading skills they achieved during the preceding school year. It is common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer.  That month of re-teaching could have been spent on teaching new information and skills.

Free reading programs can be found at LaGrange Memorial Library and Hogansville Public Library.  The Summer Reading Program kicks off on June 7.  There will be a program every Wednesday at 1:30 P.m. in LaGrange and 3:30 in Hogansville through July 26.  The theme this year is “Build a Better World”.  For those of you that like to read on your computer and mobile devices, visit the site “Get Georgia Reading” and sign up for “myOn” which provides a free reading program through Aug. 31.

There are several “Little Free Libraries”(LFLs) around our town providing free books for reading, only asking that you return the book when finished or donate new or gently used books.

You can find a LFL at Granger Playground, McCluskey Tennis Center, on the Square in Downtown LaGrange, College Avenue and Lincoln Street.  There is also a LFL located at the West Point Recreation Center.

This summer make reading fun.  Let your child’s interest guide his or her reading choices.  Keep books readily available at home, in the car or wherever your day takes you.

And a reminder for early learning, birth to age 4, it is NEVER too early to start reading to your children.  80 percent of brain development occurs by age 3, and 90 percent by age 5.  For more information on the importance of early learning visit the site, www.blockswga.org and www.talkwithmebaby.org.

It is summer, but please “do not take a vacation from education”.

Keep Reading.

Debbie Burdette is the Executive Director of  Troup County Certified Literate Community Program (CLCP)