Community comes together to stop “summer slide”

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The choices seemed endless. There was everything from fables to humorous fiction

Samiyah Burke was one of the many students at Kistler Elementary School who had the chance to add up to six books to their personal reading collection for free.

“I like reading because it makes you smarter,” said Burke.

The book fair is part of the United Way of Wyoming Valley’s summer reading initiative. Teachers “tag out” with the hopes that parents “tag in” over the break and continue reading to their children.

“We want to keep children reading and engaged so they don’t lose the knowledge they learned during the school year,” said the United Way’s Jennifer Deemer.

That learning loss is also called “summer slide” and child advocates say it disproportionately affects low income families.

“The kids can really benefit because, over the summer, a lot of them may not have an opportunity to go to the library,” said Second Grade Teacher Maureen Doyle.

And some may not have the ability to attend other summer school programs that aim to combat summer slide.

Kislter Elementary teachers generally give assigned reading to their students for the summer. But this inaugural book fair lets children pick which fairytales they’d like to jump into.

Children who read all six books over the summer could be eligible for an ice cream party when they return to school in the fall.   

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