Turning a New Page on Summer Reading

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Lane Russell's picture

Cambridge Public Schools encourage reading with summer reading program

“Read to the moon and back” is the slogan of this year’s Cambridge Public Schools (CPS) summer reading season. CPS has challenged students in grades kindergarten through eighth to read 20 minutes per day to help reach the goal of half a million minutes of reading per grade level. 

“If minutes = miles, we’ll read to the moon and back this summer!” their website states.  

“Summer reading promotes a love of reading and lifelong learning,” said Amy Short, the Assistant Director of Library Media Services.  

Summer reading season is very important to the CPS system. Many students read during the school year but as summer approaches, getting students interested in and excited about reading becomes more challenging. 

There are several ways local schools promote summer reading to students. At the end of the school year, Morse School hosts a red carpet event where “fifth graders present their digital book trailers to younger students,” Short explained. This gets the fifth graders excited about sharing their favorite books, and gets younger students excited about reading those books.  

In other schools, libraries will create displays of certain books to spark student interest, or use social media to promote book titles and offer recommendations.  

“This year’s theme for the statewide summer reading program is ‘Every Hero Has a Story’ (kindergarten through sixth grade) and ‘Unmask!’ for teens,” said Short. 

The key factor in the summer reading season is that students select their own books. “Students tend to enjoy summer reading less when book titles are chosen for them,” said Short.  

Students select their own reading materials according to their interests and learn about topics of their choosing. “[Summer reading is] an important factor in helping develop the habits of a successful, independent, recreational reader,” Short said.  

One of the most important things CPS stresses are the benefits of summer reading. Short referenced a fact list on the CPS summer reading website that shows the differences between a student who reads over the summer and a student who does not. 

“Student A reads or listens to an audiobook every single day. Student B doesn’t pick up a book or listen to an audiobook all summer. Student A has just exercised his/her brain in a way that will: In crease his/her knowledge, Build vocabulary, teach interesting facts, help appreciate different experiences and cultures, boost test scores, give confidence to bring back to school,” the list states.  

The summer reading season challenge aims to encourage students to get excited about reading. This will not only help instill in them a love and enthusiasm for reading and learning, but it will also help them become better students in general.  

It is all too common these days to see people, especially young students, replacing books for technology. Students who engage in summer reading are strengthening their “foundations of learning.” 

“[My favorite part] is seeing and hearing about so many students who are excited about books and reading,” Short said.  

For more information on how you can get involved in summer reading season and for tips on how to get your student to read 20 minutes a day, visit the CPS summer reading website at: http://www.cpsd.us/cms/One.aspx?portalId=3042869&pageId=7577433