Editorial: Help your kids avoid 'summer slide' by reading

School's out, hear them shout! No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks!

Let's talk about that "books" part, shall we?


Even though school is out for the summer, we're hoping children aren't ditching books until they go back in late August. After all, research shows that kids who read while they're out of school have less difficulty getting back up to speed when classes resume in the fall. Those who don't keep reading suffer from what's often called the "summer slide."

It's common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer, according to a report from the National Summer Learning Association. That month of re-teaching eliminates a month that could have been spent teaching new information and skills, the report's authors say.

For more than two decades, Carroll County Public Library, in conjunction with Carroll County Public Schools, has offered its Summer Reading Program, which is designed to keep kids reading while they're out of the classroom to keep sharp the skills they've been building and avoid the summer slump. Every branch of the Carroll library system participates.

More than 9,000 children from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade participated in the program last summer.

The Summer Reading Program, which officially began June 1 and runs through Aug. 8, provides incentives such as T-shirts, gift cards and other prizes to encourage children to read more books. There will also be events offered throughout the summer, including a Comic Crash Party on June 20 at the Mount Airy branch where teens can learn how to draw their own comics and enjoy a visit from Batman and the Batmobile on July 11 at the North Carroll branch. Both of those events fit with this year's theme, "Every Hero Has a Story."

Reading lists are provided and programs and prizes offered for four age groups: an early literacy program for children from birth to pre-kindergarten; a children's program for children in pre-kindergarten to fifth grade; a teen program for grades six through 12; and an adult program — because when kids see their parents reading, it can motivate them to do the same.

So, kids, go ahead and ditch the pencils and be happy to avoid the occasional side-eye from your teacher. But let's keep cracking books over the next few months to avoid the summer slide.

To learn more about the program, visit and click on the Summer Reading 2015 link.