New challenge could help students pick books over Summer Slide


FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — If your child isn’t reading over the summer, they can fall down the summer slide: which isn’t something that can be found on a playground. According to the National Summer Learning Association, it’s when children fall behind in reading leading to lower test scores, and it particularly impacts disadvantaged children.

The “Summer Reading Adventure” in Fairfax County is kicking off with reading incentives of re-usable straws, Chipotle Gift Cards and even a $200 Amazon Gift Card as potential prizes.

To register and find more information, click this link here.

The Fairfax County Public Libraries are partnering with Fairfax County Public Schools for this challenge to keep up summer reading. Ted Kavich with the library system stresses why it’s important that kids read during the off months.

“Our mission is being so similar, right, kids and teens are off school people in the summer, and we don’t want them to stop reading, because we don’t want them to lose reading comprehension and skills over the summer, which is what happens phenomenon known as summer slide,” said Kavich.

This challenge takes a unique approach where an online software called Beanstack tracks how long you read.

“With Beanstack, it’s about time, right, which is really kind of nice because you know whether you’re a slow reader or a fast reader, you know, whatever your reading, style and habits are, you know it’s x amount of minutes to get to get prizes,” said Kavich.

Both adults and children can participate in the challenge with varying prizes.

Prizes include:

  • For kids:
    • For signing up – Chance to win $25 eGift card to Scrawl Books in Reston, Va.
    • 500 minutes – Chance to win $50 Chipotle gift card
    • 1000 minutes or 500 minutes and 5 activity badges: $150 Amazon eGift card
  • For adults:
    • For signing up: free reusable straw with bag (while supplies last)
    • 500 minutes – Chance to win $150 Amazon eGift card
    • 1000 minutes – Chance to win $200 Amazon eGift card

Mary Johnson, a local 7th-grade English Teacher at Glasgow Middle School, likes the approach the challenge takes on timed reading.

“If I say like, ‘Okay, everyone has to read five books over the summer,’ well, that’s going to take a different amount of time for each student. For one student that might take… 500 hours. For another student, [it] might take half as much as that so literally, they did half the amount of reading. So I think I like that approach,” said Johnson.

She says she’s noticed first-hand what a lack of summer reading can do.

“I’ve had the experience where students have slipped and both their comprehension their fluency,” said Johnson. “Their decoding and so what that the impact that has is obviously teachers have to then go back and reteach spend three to four weeks kind of re-teaching skills.”

The last day of the Summer Reading Adventure is August 13.

For more local stories and news tips, follow @EliseKimTV on Facebook or Instagram.

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