Preventing the summer slide: 4,400 SPS students receive books for the summer reading challenge

Published: May. 25, 2022 at 7:24 AM CDT|Updated: May. 25, 2022 at 9:40 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - It’s the last day of school for most Springfield students, so the school district is shifting its focus to continuing education over the summer.

The 4,400 incoming and current kindergarteners and first graders are getting books to take home over the summer for the Superintendent’s new Summer Reading Challenge.

“I love to read, and I thought I would take my love of reading and thought I would share that district-wide with our kids in kindergarten and first grade,” says Springfield Public Schools Superintendent Grenita Lathan. “So my love of the summer and my love of reading, we coupled that together and developed our reading challenge.”

The goal is to make sure students are still learning over the summer, with younger kids focusing on reading skills, comprehension, and retention.

“They will be able to share with their teachers, their peers, their parents the information that they’ve obtained over the summer by reading the books,” explains Lathan. “We know summer learning loss is real for students that are not engaged in educational opportunities. This is a way to keep them engaged.”

On Tuesday, Megan Terry’s first grade class at Robberson Community School received their books for the summer. Terry says it was an exciting moment for both her and her students.

“That was super exciting,” says Terry. “So they were coming and telling me that they now had new books to read before bedtime. That they were going to read to their parents and that they could have their parents read to them. Not all of our kids are fortunate enough to have a selection of books at home. So for them to be able to take brand new books to read over the summer is super exciting.”

Later this summer, students who are a part of the Explore program will meet Clifford the Big Red Dog. The favorite childhood character will encourage kids to read and continue learning even when they aren’t in the classroom.

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