Avoid the slide, feed summer minds

Avoid the slide, feed summer minds

Hundreds of students across the Tri-Cities will continue to sharpen their reading skills thanks to a free book program.

Studies show that students experience the “summer slide,” meaning they lose some of their reading skills during summer vacation.

Aecom Technology Corporation and Washington River Protection Solutions are partnering with the Children’s Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia to provide more than 5,000 books to students in the Pasco, Richland, and Kennewick public school districts.

They hope to help students start a library at home and feed their growing minds.

“Kids get excited about reading,” said Dale Kern, principal at Westgate Elementary School.

He said that by having books in the home, students are more likely to read and ward off the summer learning curve. Just by reading 20 minutes a day can help boost their skills.

Kern said this program creates a sense of competition within students and pushes them to be a role model for younger students.

“The impact of that is not just on the kid that is taking the book home but the entire family is being impacted,” he added. “Kids often talk about reading to their little brothers and sisters.”

Students start off with at least two books and school staff said they hope to see their collection grow as the summer goes on.

“By choosing the books themselves, choosing books they want, they are excited about the books and they learn to love reading so they will become life long readers hopefully as a result of that.”

He said students also trade books throughout the summer with their friends.