Summer Reading Creates Lifelong Learners

By Assemblyman Will Barclay
Now that the school year has ended, a great way for children to retain the vocabulary and knowledge they’ve acquired this school year is to encourage them to read each day over the summer.

Studies show that reading just 15 minutes a day helps prevent learning loss.

Summer reading is an opportunity for kids to learn more independently.

According to recent studies, children’s early understanding of literacy is developed within their family and their community.

Exposing kids to books at a very early age can trigger a lifelong love of reading.  Reading is also an accrued skill, which means the more children read or are read to, the better readers they will become.

If kids learn to like to read leisurely, chances are they will be more successful in school.

Further, avid readers are more likely to stay in school and have a better chance at getting a higher paying job when they are older.

Many studies have shown that a person’s literacy level can impact their success in obtaining employment, making financial decisions, taking care of their health, and maintaining quality of life.

A person’s ability to read can mean the difference between giving a child the correct dose of medication or following proper safety procedures while on a job.

It can also determine financial stability.

According to recent statistics, 43 percent of those who have low literacy skills lived in poverty.

Fortunately, we have educators, librarians and organizations in our community that are dedicated to not only raising awareness about the importance of literacy, but offer programs to help both children and adults learn to read.

Every year I sponsor a Summer Reading Challenge which challenges kids to read for 15 minutes a day over the summer months.

This year’s theme is “Every Hero has a Story.”

Students who participate and read at least 15 minutes per day for 40 days in July and August will receive a certificate and be invited to a Summer Reading Challenge party.

I enjoy meeting the children and recognizing them for their hard work and dedication each year at the Summer Reading Challenge party.

Kids can track their progress on a calendar provided on the reading challenge form.

Local schools distributed the registration forms in June.

Forms are also available at my district office by request.

After the challenge is completed and filled out, families can mail or drop off their completed forms to my district office.

Many of our local libraries sponsor reading challenges as well.  I’d encourage you and your families to take advantage of these as well.

To spark a child’s intellectual curiosity at a young age can be a lifelong gift to them.

There are many ideas and book lists to help families get started.

Listed within the Assembly reading challenge is a list of books broken down by subject area and age appropriateness.

Plenty more book lists can be viewed at

There are also bookmarks to print with suggested books lists included.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office.

My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.

You can also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.