Typical summer slide may actually be the spring-summer slump for many students this year.

Educators have long recognized summer vacation is when some students regress academically, referring to the dip as summer slump or slide. This year the added factor likely contributing to the slump will be that this spring’s distance learning was challenging for many students despite teachers’ dedicated efforts to make it a quality experience. Some students didn’t even have access to the internet weeks after schools were closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

So although the end of the school term may be a welcome reprieve from electronic classes and online homework, parents should consider getting their kids signed up for area library summer reading programs to both keep reading skills sharp and to add fun into young lives that are also feeling extra stress these days.

Area libraries are again offering summer reading programs, albeit with adaptations because of the pandemic. The majority of the activities and programs will be featured online but, as usual, participants will be offered incentives for logging in reading time.

Some summer library activities, such as drive-in storytimes at North Mankato Taylor Library, will keep public safety and health as a priority. Librarians will read stories over a microphone to audience members parked in the library parking lot. The St. Peter Library is offering online book clubs, escape rooms and virtual author visits.

Many libraries, although not yet open to the public, also are making materials available for checkout. Requests are bagged up for patrons who can pick them up outside the closed libraries. In addition, area libraries offer digital access to many materials if you have a library card. Having a source of fresh books is a real plus during this time of isolation.

Parents should take advantage of what libraries offer to keep their children excited about reading all summer. In additional benefit is that the spring-summer slump could quietly shrink for many kids without them even noticing.

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