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Program aims to keep skills sharp over break

July 02, 2007|By SHANNON EPPS

HAGERSTOWN - Students who participate in summer reading programs at local libraries might have an advantage when returning to school in the fall.

Kathleen O'Connell, assistant director of Washington County Free Library, said summer programs help students maintain their reading skills.

"The emphasis on reading really keeps the (reading) levels up, so that when they go back to school they haven't lost anything," she said.

A recent study conducted in Pennsylvania by Dr. Donna Celano of Temple University and Dr. Susan B. Neuman of the University of Michigan concluded that children who participate in summer reading programs, like the one at the local library, read on higher levels than those who attend summer camps.

The library's summer reading program for youth, "Reading Road Trip," gives youngsters credit for exploring reading materials other than books, such as newspapers and magazines.

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The program is set up as a game, and participants must complete tasks in order to advance. Prizes are given to those who complete the program.

Martin Potash, supervisor of Secondary English/Language Arts and Reading for Washington County Public Schools, thinks that reading should be something young people look forward to during the summer.

"Reading should be an enjoyable getaway," he said.

Potash said that summer is an ideal time for young people to read books they like instead of the books they read in school.

"During the summer, the students should be getting away from the job-related type of reading that is mandated by the schools," he said.

At the library, O'Connell shared the goal of the summer reading program.

"Just (for the students) to keep reading and keep learning and to keep the wheels going," she said.

O'Connell said summer reading programs prepare students for their return to school in the fall.

"They're ready to go because they've been reading," she said. "It really does keep them up to par so that they don't regress."

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