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Summer reading linked to better grades

Educators urge students to read during long break

POSTED: June 20, 2009 12:06 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Katherine Kloster and her daughter, Lolly, 12, discuss a few of the books recommended for the school reading list for the summer Friday at Books-A-Million in Gainesville. Kloster brought her two children to Gainesville in search for books to read over the summer.

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During the summer, many kids would rather catch up with the latest happenings of their favorite television characters than catch up on their reading. But parents may want to reverse that trend.

According to Georgia Department of Education officials, reading over the summer can help boost student performance during the regular academic year.

Researchers with the John Hopkins University School of Education report that students who do not read or participate in any learning activities lose two to three months worth of knowledge during their summer break.

This information isn’t new to most educators, which why many area schools have either suggested or required summer reading lists for students.

"We always go to the summer reading programs at the library," said Habersham County resident Katherine Kloster as she and her children picked up required reading materials at Books-A-Million in Gainesville.

"It’s something my family used to do when I was growing up and I continued it with my children. It helps keep them doing things besides sitting in front of the TV all day."

Although Kloster says that she has always promote reading to her 14-year-old son, Kit Kloster, and 12-year-old daughter, Lolly Kloster, it is a movie that helped get her youngest reading this summer.

After the "Twilight" film hit movie theaters, Lolly says she was inspired to read the books in the series of the same title.

"My cousin was reading it and so were all of my friends, so I decided to read them too," Lolly said.

The important thing is that she’s reading, Kloster said.

Not all local schools have required summer reading lists, yet both Jefferson Middle School and Gainesville High School have such requirements.

If summer reading isn’t a requirement for your student, school officials suggest that parents allow children to pick books they are interested in to allow them to be more engaged in the material, making summer learning feel less like work and more enjoyable.

Book stores often have special sections devoted to titles that are often listed on school summer reading lists. The Books-A-Million’s summer reading section has generic titles, but it is planning to add more locally-based selections, store manager Katherine Killimett said.



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