Friday, May 8, 2009

Cool School Tool:
Stop the “Summer Slide” With the
Scholastic Summer Challenge

“America doesn’t have a school problem, it has a summer vacation problem.”

Those are the words of Malcolm Gladwell in his latest book, Outliers: The Story of Success. In Outliers, Gladwell attempts to answer the questions What sets the best and the brightest apart from the rest of us? What can be learned from their success stories?

One of Gladwell’s premises is that American kids, especially kids of lower socio-economic means, let go of learning in the summertime. Their test scores suffer because they have fewer school days than kids in most other countries -- especially Asian countries, whose students are fast eclipsing our own.

Stop the “Summer Slide”

Research shows that by reading four or five books during the summer, elementary students can avoid read achievement losses that normally occur over those months.

The “summer slide” and research about summer reading are two of the reasons that Scholastic, Inc., is joining forces this summer with The National Center for Summer Learning (Johns Hopkins University) to present the Scholastic Summer Challenge. The Challenge kicked off April 30 with a Reading Game Show, hosted by Jon Scieszka.

Participating in the Challenge is simple. Kids log on to the Summer Reading Challenge, sign up, and take a quick quiz. The results of that quiz will determine on which of four color-coded teams kids will participate this summer. Teams compete to accumulate points based on the number of minutes they spend reading. Kids can win prizes for themselves and for the Summer Challenge’s official charity, Save the Children.

As always, Scholastic has created tons of fun for kids as well as great resources for parents and teachers. The Summer Challenge resource kit includes the following:

 Information on how students in your school can compete with others to set a world summer reading record (learn more)
 Resources to help parents get kids reading (explore the resources)
 Recommended booklists by age level, age 3 to Young Adult (YA) readers (see and print the booklists)
 Video teasers to get kids excited about 65 different books (view some videos)
 Teachers’ best ideas for encouraging summer reading (explore teachers’ ideas)
 A letter you can send home to parents that explains the Scholastic Summer Challenge (see and print the letter)

Take a look around the Scholastic Summer Challenge Web site, gather the support of your staff and PTO, and stop the slide by getting kids reading this summer!

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