School district follows up reading program with summer help

Educators across the spectrum are always concerned about the loss of progress students have made over the school year when summer break takes place.

In the past year Carbon School District spent a lot of money and precious time developing the leveled reading program in the elementary schools and with major success in reading growth having taken place no one wants to see summer vacation set that back. Some private citizens and the district have come up with a way to keep students reading during the summer.

“We were approached by Kendra Seeley who had heard about little free libraries in neighborhoods and we had also been thinking about the same thing,” stated Carbon School District Superintendent Lance Hatch. “These libraries have been springing up in places across the country. We are concerned about what we call the summer slide. The summer slide is when students start a new school year at a lower level than when they ended the previous school year. Research shows it takes up to two months of instruction for some students to gain back what they lost over the summer. It made perfect sense to find a way to keep the reading efforts going. If students read during the summer, they can virtually eliminate that summer slide.”

Hatch said that one of the things the district is doing this summer to alleviate the slide is opening the school libraries at Bruin Point, Wellington and Sally Mauro once a week for a few hours during the summer so students who are enrolled in the school can get books that fit them. The Price City Library is centrally located in the city and so students can go there to get books to read in that area. Because of that Castle Heights and Creekview Elementary libraries will not be open this summer.

“We also started thinking about where we are serving summer lunch and how some kind of access to books could help in those schools on the days the libraries are not open,” he said. “So with the idea of having 24/7 access to books we jumped right on the concept that Kendra had about establishing free libraries at schools that kids could utilize.”

He said Layne Miller from the Price City Council also met with them to set up a plan as to how it all could be accomplished.

Consequently the district has provided some old filing cabinets to use as library stations, and Daniel Bear, the district's art instructor, worked with students to do an art activity on them just before school was out. The PTA’s across the district did a book drive to supply the stations with books for students to read. The district has now taken the time to divide up the collected books and have placed them in the stations. The stations are located at every school that provides summer lunch, but the cabinets with the books are standing outside the front doors under the entry way awnings so they are available at all times for students to access. Those locations include Creekview Elementary, Castle Heights Elementary, Bruin Point Elementary, Wellington Elementary and Sally Mauro Elementary schools.

“There is no way to level these books, but the ones that are there will be available for anyone who wants to use them,” said Hatch. “We hope parents will be vigilant in helping students to select the appropriate level book for their students. The idea is to bring a book and take a book. Once they have read one book they can take another, but bring the other one back for someone else to use.”

No decision has been made as of yet as to what will happen to the stations at the end of the summer, but that will soon be discussed.

“This will be an opportunity for students to read all summer. In some homes there aren’t any books that students haven't already read. We hope this initiative will help a lot of kids,” concluded Hatch.