Research on reading achievement informs us that there is a significant loss of literacy during summer, impacting lower socio economic groups more than others, due to the presence of literacy resources and literacy engagement in the environment.
Library programs rev up for the summer in serious attempts to combat this slide and at Bookworm, we have been aspiring to keep reading first with even more vim and vigour as schools close and children ‘appear’ to have more time to read.
As our outreach programs grow and the diversity of our reading audiences grow richer, we felt determined to combat the ‘Matthew’s effect’, so we decide to get off the slide and onto a see saw, heavily loaded in favour of lower socio economic groups on our MOP program.
The Reading Challenge has a simple plan, you read, you are rewarded, you read more and so do your peers and we balance the see saw perfectly and stay OFF the slide !
I had the joy of enlisting Akshada from our St. Inez site to the Reading Challenge, two weeks back. Akshada’s eyes lit up when she explored the Golden Bag and examined all the potential treats, from buttons, to sparkly nail polish, stickers, key chains, pencils, note books and pencil cases. She chose a book with the goal in mind and the following week, read it back to me fluently! She looked up at one point, her eyes sparkling and said, ” I like this book !“. For the time that we were reading together, the Golden Bag was forgotten and the joy from the story took over. It was not even a great story that befits sparkling eyes, but it was for Akshada !
I have been reflecting on the strong barrier to incentivising children that I have upheld for the longest time, believing that a good story will be sufficient motivation and then I look at the Golden Bags and hear reports from the team about other sites and sparkling eyes and I feel, perhaps to see saw we need motivators and they appear to be working.
As we read through the summer, I keep our goal in mind, to support our children in staying off the summer slide so that when school begins they are well up the ladder, reading and enjoying themselves learning !