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The Assembly Minority Conference

Summer Reading Challenge Can Help Curb The ‘Summer Slide’

Weekly Column from Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay

Now that the school year is coming to a close, it is again time to challenge our young New Yorkers to continue their academic growth by reading about their favorite topics this summer. As such, I am proud to again host the New York State Assembly Summer Reading Challenge for the residents of the 120th Assembly District. This year’s theme is “All Together Now” and is focused on the important concepts of “Kindness, Friendship, and Unity."

Students in kindergarten through seventh grade are invited to read for at least 15 minutes each day over a 40-day period in July and August. Students who complete the challenge will be presented with a New York State Excellence in Reading Certificate as well as earn an invitation to our summer reading party.

There are lots of great reasons to read during summer, but one of the most important reasons for young readers to do so is to help keep their minds sharp and fresh during non-instructional months. Developing minds that have limited or no academic engagements during the summer risk falling into the dreaded “summer slide” and have a harder time getting up to speed come September. The New York State Assembly Summer Reading Challenge is a great way to combat that slide and give incoming students an extra edge when the new school year starts.

For families in and around my hometown, the Oswego Bookmobile will be making stops all around town to provide free reading resources for young readers. The Bookmobile will be making weekly stops at the following locations through July and August: Hillcrest Trailer Park, Leighton Elementary, SUNY Oswego Children’s Center, Oak Hill Park, Kingsford Park, Hamilton Homes, Breitbeck Park, Fort Ontario Pool, Hill Top Trailer Park, East Park, West Park, Fitzhugh Park, Scriba Town Park and Little Luke’s. For a full schedule, visit here

Further, the North Country Public Library system and the Finger Lakes Library System are also tremendous resources for readers of every age.

Independent reading is an important part of a young reader’s development. While school-assigned reading is also necessary to provide students with the educational building blocks they need to thrive, so too are works of fiction and non-fiction that speak directly to their interests. Summer reading is a great time to turn a spark into a flame, and I hope we have even more participation in this great reading program than ever before. Good luck and happy reading!