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Students are encouraged to read, get ready for the new school year

Considering the whammy of a year we’ve experienced, summer is arriving just in time. Relaxing at a picnic, playing outside, being with friends and family are all experiences that have never seemed so welcome.

Although there may be some playground slides in your summer plans, there’s one kind of slide your kids should always avoid. The term “summer slide” is used by researchers to describe the loss of #literacy skills for students who don’t read during the months when school is out. This can have a cumulative effect, with long-reaching consequences on school success and beyond.

Unfortunately, parents and students are also facing the challenge of the “COVID slide”. New research from the Northwest Evaluation Association indicates when students head back to class in the fall, they are likely to retain only 70 percent of this year’s gains in reading. The compounded effects of COVID-19 closures with the summer break make it more important than ever to encourage kids to keep reading.

That’s exactly what Capital Area District Libraries’ Summer Reading Challenge is all about. It adds an element of excitement by offering fun activities and prize incentives. There is no prescribed list – kids can choose to read what they like. They simply log the time they spend reading on an easy-to-use website. Activities like scavenger hunts and STEAM challenges offer safe and educational ways to enforce good reading habits.

It’s very gratifying to enjoy so much community support as we work to engage kids and their families all summer long. Our combined efforts will pay off in student success for years to come, helping to build lifelong learners and readers.

The Summer Reading Challenge runs in the month of August. For more information, visit or any of the 13 area branches of Capital Area District Libraries.



Marisela Garza is the Youth Services Specialist at Capital Area District Libraries and a co-host of the CADL CAST Podcast – Reader’s Round Table Edition.

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