Summer vacation has just begun for area students, and while many are relieved to put the classroom behind them for a few months, it doesn't mean learning has to come to a halt.
According to the International Reading Association, many studies find that youths who take a break from reading actually go back to school with fewer skills in that arena than they had during the school year.
West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple wants students to continue learning and recently issued a ReadWV Summer Reading Challenge. It's her hope that if youth find books that interest them, they'll be more likely to read throughout the summer break and therefore, continue learning.
Just giving children books and encouraging them to read isn't enough, other researchers have found. Incentives, they say, go a long way. Interaction - having the students tell you about what they have read - plays an even bigger role in building comprehension.
Locally, a few programs have been announced that will help students meet Marple's challenge most effectively.
For example, in Philippi, summer reading camps called "Dream Big" begin June 11. Every weekday from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., students in three age divisions will be treated to reading, arts and crafts, prizes and snacks.
We encourage all parents to do their part in making sure their children continue to read throughout the summer. Our youth's skill levels depend on it.