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The Summer Reading Program

“Every Hero Has a Story”: Commonwealth Summer Reading Programs

Image of books at a librarySummer vacation is a fun-filled time for children across the commonwealth, but spending too much time away from their studies can have a harmful impact when they return to school. In fact, “summer slide” isn’t a poolside activity; it’s a term that describes the loss of retention and development of reading skills that occurs for certain students during the summer months.
Studies show that this negative impact is exacerbated by a child’s socioeconomic status -- and the gap caused by summer slide only widens over time. After just a few summers, students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds will see their reading achievement scores drop below national averages, and by the time they leave elementary school those children will be, on average, about three grades behind their classmates hailing from higher income backgrounds. Experts say this happens because while they have access to the same resources as their peers during the school year, that access declines – or even disappears – during the summer months.
To battle the effects of summer slide, public libraries around Pennsylvania offer summer reading programs to interested students and their families. More than 400 librarians attended the training sessions for this summer’s series, “Every Hero Has a Story” and dozens of libraries are participating this year. Some participating libraries also offer special food programs to combat hunger, another contributor to poor academic performance. Hundreds of children across Pennsylvania participate in these summer reading programs, an activity that has been proven to help maintain or even raise reading skills while school is out of session.
Multiple images of kids, superheros and children being read book and reading books.