For Immediate Release: May 13, 2013
Patrice Guilfoyle, APR, Director of Communication
JACKSON, Miss. – As students prepare for the end of the school year, Interim State Superintendent of Education Lynn House challenges them to keep learning this summer by reading and stop the “summer slide” in reading achievement.
The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE), in collaboration with the Mississippi Parent-Teacher Association (MPTA), announced today the “Find a Book Mississippi” summer reading challenge. Information on the challenge, as well as a summer reading pledge form, can be found at http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/communications/findabook/.
As part of this initiative, the MDE, with assistance from MetaMetrics, will provide resources and tools to help students prepare to read this summer. With these tools, librarians, parents and students can generate a list of interesting and challenging books that will help maintain reading skills over the summer months and prevent what’s commonly referred to as the “summer slide.”
“Studies have shown that students lose critical reading skills gained during the school year when they don’t read over the summer. Reading can not only help students maintain their academic progress but it can also open students’ minds to new worlds,” House said.
The “Find a Book” tool can search online for thousands of book titles using students’ grade level, or if applicable, their Lexile measure. A Lexile measure, which is based on reader ability and text difficulty, is not necessary when using the “Find a Book” tool, which can be found at http://www.lexile.com/fab/MS/. In addition, House encourages parents and students to visit their local public libraries and to participate in one of several summer reading programs across the state that are sponsored by nonprofit groups or cities.
“One study showed that reading as few as four or five books over the summer can prevent loss of literacy skills during that time. I urge parents to take advantage of all the resources available at the state and local levels to keep their children on track academically,” said MPTA President Reba Bland.
House said a focus on summer literacy is especially important in light of new laws that seek to improve the reading skills of students in Kindergarten and in grades 1-3 so that every student completing third grade is able to read at or above grade level. Also, as the state continues to transition to more rigorous Common Core State Standards, reading comprehension and writing will be increasingly emphasized.
School administrators, parents and librarians can help promote summer reading with informational flyers posted online at the MDE’s summer reading webpage. Schools are encouraged to print the letters to parents from the webpage to send home with students or post the information on their school websites before the end of the school year. Links to other resources and summer reading opportunities can be found on the MDE webpage as well.