As kids, summer reading may have been the most dreaded thing on our minds as the final school days of June ticked by and thoughts of swimming and sleeping until noon filled our heads. Well, for those of us who weren’t absolute bookworms anyway. No matter how many times a teacher or parent told us it was important, we didn’t want to do it. I’m sure more than half of us didn’t even pick up one of those assigned books until the last weeks of August when it became a race to get it done before the first day back.
So what is the point of Summer Reading? Well, it helps prevent what is known as the “summer slide.” The summer slide is the phenomenon where kids’ reading ability worsens over a summer of no reading. Reading levels drop, and reading comprehension becomes more difficult upon returning to class. Assigned reading over the summer months was just one of the many ways schools and teachers have tried to combat this slide in literacy, but there are more interesting approaches like that of Scholastic.
Like many teachers and parents, Scholastic knows that summer reading can be a challenge but a very important challenge to keeping literacy rates high. Scholastic is a popular children’s book publisher, popular for more than just the publication of the Harry Potter series, which makes it unsurprising that they have a plan to inspire children across the United States to get reading this summer. For their thirteenth year running, Scholastic is hosting Read-a-Palooza, helping kids track not just books read but the minutes spent reading. This, unlike many reading challenges, isn’t a competition to see who can read the most books, which can discourage the slower readers in the bunch. All that matters is how much time a kid spends reading this summer!
According to the homepage for Read-a-Palooza, “77% of kids ages 6-17 and 94% of parents believe reading books over the summer helps kids during the school year.” For Read-a-Palooza, kids can unlock digital rewards for tracking their minutes spent reading, and they can help unlock a very large book donation for communities and children in need across the United States. Students can even help land their school in the 2019 Scholastic Book of World Records. There is no shortage of incentives to get kids reading!
One super important point to make is that there are no requirements as to what kids are reading. Graphic novels? Great! Fantasy? Excellent! As long as they’re reading, it counts. Kids have until September 6th to input their minutes on the Scholastic website.