Preventing the Summer Slide

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Libraries and other agencies across the Rio Grande Valley are working to promote literacy during the summer by hosting summer reading programs in an effort to prevent the “summer slide.”

The summer slide is the phenomenon in which school-age children lose at least 20% of the knowledge they gained throughout the school year during the summer. Children who read throughout the summer are less likely to experience the summer slide, according to Scholastic’s Kids & Family Reading Report.

Argelia Castillo has worked as a children’s assistant at the Pharr Memorial Library since 2018.

“The best way to prevent summer slide is by continuing to exercise our brains,” Castillo said. “As our children keep growing, we hope their knowledge from the summer program allows the reading, vocabulary and grammar learned during the school year not to be lost — but to grow or be maintained.”

The Pharr Memorial Library is amongst the several local libraries that will host a summer reading program during summer 2022. This year, its Summer Reading Program theme is “Oceans of Possibilities.” The program will run from June 6 to July 10. Children will write book reviews to test their reading comprehension, which helps them practice their reading comprehension skills while they are not in school.

“The Summer Reading Program helps children learn to enjoy reading and understand that they have every capacity to have fun and learn simultaneously,” Castillo said. “We notice a change in their intellectual growth without them realizing that they are learning.

“The opportunity to read above their current or advanced level allows the student to maintain their knowledge or advance intellectually. It is a way for students to interact with other children and show a love of reading.”

The Pharr Memorial Library Summer Reading Program will also be offered to teens and adults — led by Carlos Alvarez, reference supervisor.

“It gives them something to do during the summer,” Alvarez said. “In the two, almost three months that the students are not reading, they can lose a lot of knowledge. As a library, we strive to prevent that. We also work closely with PSJA ISD to make sure that their students are reading and that they have access to their summer reading books here at the library.”

Encouraging children to read during the summer often helps children who are preparing for a new school year ahead of them.

“Most of the children who come to the library have their minds racing over the summer,” Castillo said. “It’s nice to see their enthusiasm for reading. Their imagination grows, and many times I am surprised to see their growth.

“I sincerely feel that continuing to read and grow allows for a smooth and well-prepared entry into the next school year. The time they take to read during the summer will never be wasted. When we read, our minds grow along with our imagination, allowing us to enjoy and connect with the book characters.”

In addition to the Summer Reading Program, the Pharr Memorial Library will also be offering various classes for children throughout the summer, including Art Class, Toddler Time, Story Time, Music Class, Acting Class, Super Saturday and Sunday STREAM. These classes will give children the opportunity to collaborate and learn with each other.

“Ideas are shared while meeting other children in the library, helping the community grow,” Castillo said. “It’s a way to enjoy the summer studying without feeling like you’re learning in a classroom. Learning will never be in vain.”

Under the direction of City of Pharr Library Director, Adolfo Garcia, the Pharr Memorial Library has served many children with their Summer Reading Program over the past few years. This summer, the library will host four class sessions on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and one class session on Sunday — all of which will have a 30 student maximum. Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday programs will have no student limit. The Summer Reading Program is at no cost to the public.

Visit the Pharr Memorial Library Facebook page to learn more.

Brianna Bullion