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Gifts for summer reading

Will and Lexi Coffin pack summer reading books for Lake Placid Elementary School. (Photo provided by Laura Coffin)

I am writing to say thank you to the Lake Placid Rotary Club for funding the Lake Placid Elementary School summer reading program, and to Marc and Sarah Galvin at The Bookstore Plus for ordering all of the books and delivering them on time.

Book Shopping Day has become a cherished day because each student gets to choose several books to take home, read and add to their own personal library. This year, however, we were not able to do our traditional book shopping in school, so we had to change our program.

Each student got a bag of books chosen by their classroom teacher, based on students’ interests and reading levels. The books were delivered to students at the kindergarten parade, fifth-grade graduation, material drop-off day and by teachers to students’ homes. The teachers were excited to hand a bag of new books to each student, and the students were happy to see their teachers in person and receive new books to read.

Lake Placid Elementary School has worked hard over the past five years to provide summer reading books to children. We want students to continue the love of reading over the summer, so they will be ready for the next school year and become lifelong readers. Many students experience a summer slide when they do not read over the summer. Summer slide is a decrease in reading skills, and we do not want our students to lose their valuable reading skills while they are enjoying the summer months.

How can you help your child prevent the summer slide? Students should read daily, for a minimum of 20 minutes. Set aside a time each day where your child is able to sit and read. Maybe it’s reading in the morning before they head off on their summer adventure, or read in the backyard after lunch, or perhaps right before bed is the best time. Have your child set a goal for the summer, either a set number of books or a list of titles they want to read, and help them work toward that goal. Students entering grades 3 to 5 can work on the 46er book challenge, and younger students can work toward reading all the books in their favorite series. Have your child keep a journal about his or her books. They can draw or write about their favorite parts of the story. Have daily conversations about books, and remember that children are never too old to hear a story read aloud. Bring along a book on your camping trip, and read aloud around the campfire!

The most important thing is to make sure students have access to books throughout the summer. In addition to students getting to choose their own books, the Little Free Libraries in our communities have been restocked. There are three in Lake Placid: Cascade Acres, Copper Way and Peacock’s Park next to Mirror Lake Beach. In Wilmington, there is one at the Little Supermarket. Hopefully you are able to stop by one of the Little Free Libraries and take a book and/or leave a book this summer. Of course, our local public libraries and bookstores are ready to help you find the perfect book.

Thank you to everyone who has supported this project. I hope to continue to purchase books for students and help them not only beat the summer slide, but also develop a lifelong love of reading.

Laura G. Coffin is the reading specialist at Lake Placid Elementary School.

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