(Pictured: Past Read to Ride Summer Reading Challenge bike recipient, Brooke from Whitefield)
Summer vacation is right around the corner. It is almost time to wave farewell to students and send them off to sunny days, sandy beaches, video games, and relaxation. Summer vacation is a welcome change of pace for families and teachers, yet the importance of summer reading remains critical. Making reading a part of the student experience this summer will be invaluable to a successful return to classrooms in the fall.
Once again, this year, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) is collaborating with the Freemasons of Maine to sponsor the Read to Ride Summer Reading Challenge for students in grades PK-8. The Maine Freemasons have generously donated 48 bikes with helmets as prizes for the Read to Ride Summer Reading Challenge. During the first seven years of this initiative, thousands of Maine children completed the challenge of reading 500 minutes during summer vacation. The Maine DOE hopes to see this number grow even higher during the summer of 2023.
Any school with students in the PK-8 grade span may register to participate. Participating schools will collect documentation from students who have completed the challenge. They will hold school-level drawings to select two students whose names will be entered into the state-level drawing in October 2023. Schools are encouraged to participate in this challenge, coordinate it with any other summer reading challenges/programs they offer, and consider soliciting their own local-level prizes for students who complete the challenge. Find details at the Read to Ride Challenge website and register your school at this link.
Summer slide can be prevented or greatly reduced when students continue to read on a regular basis. By encouraging children to read for enjoyment from a variety of resources and to explore topics of interest, they continue to practice applying the skills they have learned, build their vocabulary, and widen their knowledge of the world. For students who are not yet reading independently, or just beginning to read, reading to and with parents is equally beneficial.
Questions may be directed to Maine DOE’s Inclusive Education Literacy Specialist, Dee Saucier at email@example.com.