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Step into an Illinois Library to Help Kids Avoid the "Summer Slide"

PHOTO: Libraries in Illinois typically provide summer reading programs, which can be valuable for students and help them avoid what educators call the summer slide. Photo credit: Anita Peppers/Morguefile.
PHOTO: Libraries in Illinois typically provide summer reading programs, which can be valuable for students and help them avoid what educators call the summer slide. Photo credit: Anita Peppers/Morguefile.
June 16, 2015

CHICAGO – Now that summer is in full swing, Illinois educators are encouraging parents to make sure their kids read during vacation to avoid the so-called "summer slide."

Kelly Durov, children's services manager with the Park Ridge Public Library, says time away from the books can cause significant loss of academic skills. She recommends that parents find ways to keep their child engaged during the summer months.

"There has been research done that when children don't practice reading over the summer, they lose their skills," she says. "That's what is referred to as the 'summer slide.'"

According to Durov, most libraries usually provide summer reading programs, which can be extremely valuable for students. She says anything parents can do to encourage summer reading will be beneficial for children. And while it's good to include educational books, Durov adds that summer should include fun reading material as well.

"That's a great time to let kids explore their passions, especially as they get older," says Durov. "Fourth-, fifth-, sixth-graders have passion for games and toys, and there's wonderful books written about that. Summer's a great time to give them that choice to be able to explore those things."

Park Ridge children's librarian Parry Rigney suggests parents or caregivers head to their local public library, where librarians can help children find material that suits their interest and reading level.

"We have personalized book lists that we create for kids," she says. "It takes a little bit more time, but if they are willing to fill out a brief survey, we can make a personalized book list for them and give them some recommendations they may not already know about."

Around the state, the Illinois Reading Enrichment and Development (iREAD) program helps develop and provide high-quality, low-cost resources and products to enable local library staff to promote reading.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IL