One of the most difficult tasks for educators during the summer is equipping students to stay engaged and interested in improving their literacy skills. As the summer is filled with vacations, beach visits and relaxation, it is important that our students also make time to maintain and further their literacy skills developed during the school year. In an effort to ensure that parents and students are aware of the summer slump and how it can negatively affect students in the coming school year, Florida’s First Lady Ann Scott, along with the Department of Education, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Lottery are sponsoring the fifth annual Summer Literacy Adventure.
The initiative encourages children to stay active and motivated about reading during this year’s summer break. Personally, I love reading. I read at least one book a week. It doesn’t matter what kind of book you read, as long as you are trying to read at least 20 minutes every day. Reading is the very best way that students can keep all the knowledge learned in school this year, and start next year ready to learn new things. Strong reading skills are an essential part of the learning process and we must do all we can to encourage our children to make reading a part of their daily lives.
This year’s Summer Literacy Adventure kick off took place at the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee where nearly 70 local elementary school students were greeted by First Lady Scott. Students from Astoria Park Elementary School in Leon County and Galloway Charter Academy in Gadsden County were delighted by Mrs. Scott’s reading of Drew Daywalt’s “The Day the Crayons Quit.” The children also enjoyed an on-site scavenger hunt within the mansion and answered trivia questions about Florida’s wildlife.
All the activities were designed to make students aware how important, diverse and fun reading can be. Whether it be non-fiction pieces like autobiographies and informational books, or fictitious tales like mystery or adventure, any reading works. Research shows that children who do not continue reading through the summer can lose a month or more of progress made during the school year. By encouraging their children to read, parents play an important role in ensuring every child reads at or above grade level.
Each student can fill out his or her summer reading pledge on the Summer Literacy Adventure website. At the end of the summer, program representatives will announce which school has pledged to read the most books and the winning school will receive a special visit from Mrs. Scott.
For more valuable resources for students and parents, visit the Just Read, Florida! office website.