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Teachers Encourage Summer Reading Programs for Area Students

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 13 May 2013 09:42pm | comments
Photo courtesy of Lawayne Childrey/MPB News
Studies show that students lose critical reading skills gained during the school year when they don't read over the summer. Educators in Mississippi are challenging students to avoid what's commonly called the "summer slide."   
At Clinton Park Elementary School Kindergarten Teacher Ginger Douell is giving her students the tools needed to excel in reading.  While the 8 year veteran teacher is hopeful her students will retain what they have learned over the past nine months she has some concerns.   Studies show that it is common for students to lose significant ground in reading achievement if they don't  continue to brush up on their skills over the course of the summer.  It's something Douell says she has seen happen even with her own children. 
"Theyre older now but between kindergarten and first grade, my son lost two reading levels with me being a teacher, they get out of the structure of the everyday routine of school and it's just so easy for them to regress if they don't have that instruction at home as well," says Douell.
The focus on summer literacy is especially important in light of a new state law that seek to improve the reading skills of students in Kindergarten through third grade. That's why Douell believes it's important to incorporate reading  into their summer routine.
"You could do shared reading where you read a page, they read a page, just anything where their reading sentences, they could help you write the grocery list and then read it back to you, they just need that everyday engagement of reading the written word," continues Douell.
Robin Lemonis is the Director for Early Childhood Education with the State  Department of Education. She believes on of the most significant hurdles to maintaining solid reading skills during the summer is lack of resources. 
"Is there a library that's nearby, the other thing is how fluent are your parents? How literate are they? If you're at home reading a book, do you have someone that can model those instructional strategies for you and help you when you don't know something," outlines Lemonis.
Research shows that during summer break low income students generally lose about 2 months of reading achievement.   


Photo courtesy of Lawayne Childrey/MPB News



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