Want to maximize the learning of a child you know? Take them to get a library card, or buy them a book to spur their summer learning!
The Alabama Dept. of Education (ALSDE) is challenging students to foster critical reading skills over the summer break. As a continuum of its statewide efforts to improve literacy, the department announced its “Summer Reading Challenge,” which encourages students to “pledge to read” and continue their progress during the vacation months.
The Summer Reading Challenge provides online resources for the students, including videos, links to books and assistance for parents and teachers.
Like most states, Alabama understands and is acting on the importance of having all students become successful readers. In 2011, Alabama presented its Action Plan for Literacy to help build on the successes of the successful Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI), a collaborative program that A+ Education Partnership helped launch in 1998. The ARI continues to help improve literacy skills primarily in the elementary and middle schools. According to the former state superintendent, Joe Morton, the ARI targets aspects of teaching and reading that prevent reading difficulties, identify struggling readers and provide intervention to help them become proficient readers, and expand the reading power of all students.
The ALSDE’s Summer Reading Challenge is the most recent effort to build upon the state’s progress in improving student literacy skills, staying committed to the framework of the Action Plan. And, summer reading is critical to a student’s continuing success. Multiple studies have shown that there is some learning loss during the summer months, (see linked report from the Educational Resource Information Center), which can attribute to many students falling behind and never catching up from year to year.
A recent Times Daily article (Florence, AL) cites a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education, which shows that over 60 percent of U.S. 12th-graders graduate “without the advanced reading and writing skills needed to succeed in college and a career.” While Alabama has seen significant improvements in student literacy, data from the Alliance report still shows a need for continued work in Alabama, “where 31 percent of eighth-graders read below their grade level.”
Click here to learn more about the ALSDE Summer Reading Challenge, and share the information with teachers and parents.