Home Books on Break: Preventing Summer Learning Loss

Books on Break: Preventing Summer Learning Loss

“I like trucks!”
“Look at the lion!”
“How many more can I pick?”

The questions came from pre-K students at Children & Families First’s Staley and Macedonia Head Start Centers this May. Their teachers had just led them into a room full of books – and they could each choose five to take home with them.

In partnership with Book Harvest of Durham, N.C., Ready for School, Ready for Life (Ready Ready) distributed nearly 1,000 books to children in eight pre-K classrooms in High Point.

“Books on Break is a program designed to have kids choose their books,” said Rachel Stine, Book Harvest’s director of book abundance. “We know that when kids choose their books,  identify as a reader and become more intrinsically motivated readers.”

Ready Ready’s Ages 3-8 Director Coretta Walker and Literacy Coordinator Megan LeFaivre set up rooms at the centers with attractive groupings of books on tables – like a pool party-themed book fair. Children entered five at a time to choose the five books they wanted to take home in a personalized book bag.

“The books are culturally relevant in terms of the characters, the storylines, and the language,” Walker said. “The Pre-K students  could could take home five books they chose. They had hundreds to pick from – some early reader books, hardback, paperback – whatever they wanted to take home.”

The timing was deliberate since these students would have the summer to read and prepare for kindergarten. Each child’s book bag had resources for families about kindergarten readiness and tips from The Basics Guilford. Keeping the children’s curiosity and creativity engaged will help them start the new school year more easily. 

“This is going to encourage literacy between the child and parent and boost what they’ve learned in our center so they don’t lose it over the summer,” said Donnishia Casterlow, assistant director at the Staley Center.

According to Book Harvest’s website, children growing up in homes with at least 20 books get three years more schooling than children from bookless homes, regardless of their parent’s education, occupation, and social-economic standing. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that parents start reading to their children at birth.

“We know that children learn best when they are exposed to books and hear more language spoken,” said Megan LeFaivre, Ready Ready’s literacy coordinator. “Having more books in the home, especially over the summer, will help them prepare for kindergarten.”

Article by Stephanie Skordas, Director of Communications – Ready for School, Ready for Life
Photo by Ready for School, Ready for Life

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