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Military Bases Try to Stop Summer Learning Loss

Programming has kicked off for a global summer reading initiative that will reach families in all branches of the military. More than 250 base libraries will join a "quest" to thwart summer boredom with free activities, prizes and a wide range of reading choices for all ages around the theme "A Midsummer Knight's Read."

Military families will be working to stop the summer reading gap with the new initiative called "A Midsummer Knight's Read.".

Most programs will run eight weeks with open enrollment during the summer. Activities will range by location and include everything from "dragonology" to medieval parties to jester hat-making craft projects.

"This year's theme really engages the imagination and connects with kids," said Nilya Carrato, Program Assistant, Navy General Library Program. "Fostering and supporting a love of reading pay educational dividends over a lifetime."

Research spanning decades shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer. Some researchers estimate 50 to 67 percent of the achievement gap for children living in poverty and for children of color is the result of summer learning loss. Summer reading programs can help to offset this loss, because studies also indicate students who read recreationally out-perform those who don't. Students read more when they can choose materials based on their own interests.

"Because military families move so much, it's particularly important to ensure they have access to consistent, high-quality educational and recreational opportunities regardless of where they are stationed," Carrato added. More than a million prizes and reading incentives were distributed through the coordinated program last year.

Sponsored by the Department of Defense, "A Midsummer Knight's Read" will reach thousands of families worldwide. The theme is brought to life by David Catrow, illustrator of numerous notable books for children, including She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head!, which was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year. Check out the video PSA featuring Catrow's art on YouTube.


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