Yolo Library Summer Reading Program to prevent summer slide

“Half a grade or more is lost, although, half a grade or more is gained, if they read.” says Scott Love , Regional Branch Manager for Yolo Libraries.

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  Have you ever come back to work from a weekend, only to spend the first few minutes (or more) surprised by what you don’t remember? Summer vacation is like a months long weekend for students, not yet fully conditioned to what was learned. There are copious amounts of current comprehensive studies by numerous experts in educational research all showing negative effects of summer vacation on achievement test scores. This research even goes as far back as a 1906 study “Reviews Before and After Vacation” by W. White, which was conducted when instructive learning was held 248 days out of the year, rather then the current standard of 180 school days. These studies warn educators that a students failure to flex their learning skills regularly when school is out of session increases their rate of slippage and their inability to maintain previously acquired learning. This effect is known to educators as summer setback, summer slide, or summer learning loss. This common phenomenon of memory decay effects students of all grades and ages, but is notably worse for disadvantaged or students from low income families who are unable to afford costly summer schools, camps or summer activity programs. Even harder struck students are those without access to subsidized summer lunch programs. When students are not fostering what they learn with repetition and consistent diligence, they often have to work very hard during the school year to gain that lost ground back. In later grades some find the compounding workload and expectations insurmountable. The good news is that there are numerous research papers extolling the benefits and promoting national public summer reading such as Collaborative Summer Learning Program (CSLP), National Summer Learning Association, Collaborative Summer Library Program and the Illinois Reading Enrichment and Development (iREAD), to name only a few. According to the American Library Association 95 percent of libraries offer summer reading programs to forestall the “summer slide”.  Ongoing participants in these free and widely available programs not only maintain hard fought skills, they also gain further academic achievement and show higher scores of ability when schooling resumes. The average student’s Summer Learning Loss is characterized best by Yolo County Libraries Regional Branch Manager, Scott Love. “Half a grade or more is lost,” Love says, “although, half a grade or more is gained if they read.” All summer long there are reading challenges for all ages going from now until Saturday, Aug. 18 in all Yolo County Libraries. Library card holders can sign up for a choice to read for ten hours, read ten books or read for ten days regularly. The library will give participants a free book, age appropriate prizes and multiple entries to raffles for grand prize drawings. Those who come to the library when they are halfway to their goal will receive a prize to congratulate their determination and spur them to the finish. “We give prizes for signing up, for reading and prizes for completing. After that there are still more ways to play and a reading passport to stamp,” says Patrick Murphy, a five year employee of Winters Library, adding, “Anything we can do to get you in here and reading.” Don’t worry about unpaid fines, the library wants participation more than unpaid monies. Students ages 17 and under can reduce a dollar worth of late fines by reading in 15 minutes increments. “Fines take away from our purpose here,” says Love. “We want to see you in here,” added Toni Mendieta Winters Library Branch Manager. “It’s more about getting kids in here to read and enjoy the library, we are less concerned about getting the fine from them,” said Murphy. “For keeping the mind working, reading is good, cross words puzzles are good, sudokus are good. I mean all that stuff helps us, helps keep aging away.” states Love. “This [reading] also effects zero to five, kids that are pre-readers the number of words they are exposed to if parents are reading to them or if they are coming to story times, is dramatically higher,” Love says. “Those kids are able to get into head start programs and universal preschool, which greatly reduces the number of kids that need special education once they start regular elementary school.” Love added that if it weren’t for the Winters Friends of the Library they would be unable to put on the summer reading program or do many of the updates that the library is currently undertaking. “We’re going to take some of the internet computers and put them in the kids area so they’re only for kids and they can be separated,” Love says. “They’ll take the far end of the room and we’re going to divide it up, so it’s like more of a dedicated teen space where they… not have privacy, but an area they can feel as their space. That’s all through Big-DoG money that the friends (WoFL) raise.” “They have been dying for their own space” says Mendeita. “We open up the Margaret Parsons room during Lunch hour because they don’t have a space to be. They crowd up the lobby and people complain to us. They’re not being bad, they just want a place to be.” “We’re going to put in a gaming console in the room too,” Mendeita said. “We held a VR (Virtual Reality) program last week and it was so fun to see teen boys come out and try it.” The Summer Reading Program 2018 theme is Reading Takes You Everywhere. As the time of printing there were only 4097 county wide Summer Reading Program participants and only 591 participants at Winters Library, with plenty of room and awards for more. Apply online at http://yolocounty.org and check out the monthly calendar here ]]>

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