Hundreds of rising kindergarten through eighth-grade students are expected to register for the Beaufort County School District’s Virtual Summer Reading Challenge, which lets students log their summer reading online. Students who meet reading goals for their grade levels will earn certificates of celebration from the school district.
This will be the district’s ninth year offering an eight-week virtual program for students. This summer, students can read and log their reading using computers or mobile devices in their homes, or using computers at various community partners around Beaufort County. Students can log any reading they complete between June 11 and August 3. This might be reading for pleasure, for the Beaufort County Library summer reading program or for an individual school’s summer reading program.
Chrissy Robinson, the district’s Director of Educational Technology, said results from Measures of Academic Progress testing indicate that students tend to experience “summer loss” when they don’t have the chance to keep their skills sharp over the summer. This can be avoided if students are engaged in reading during the summer, Robinson said.
“It’s similar to playing a musical instrument,” said Melissa Murray, the district’s Coordinator of English and Language Arts. “If you don’t practice for several months, you will lose some of your skills and not be as prepared as students who practiced during the summer.”
While students are encouraged to read from lists provided by their schools and to select materials at their grade levels, they ultimately can read what they want, when they want. The Beaufort County Library and many schools have their own summer reading programs, and those books also can be logged with the district’s Virtual Summer Reading Challenge.
“Studies show that allowing students to choose their own books promotes a love for lifelong reading,” Robinson said.
The Beaufort County Board of Education has pushed to make the popular summer online program available to more students because research suggests that summer achievement loss is greatest among students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. In past years, about half of summer participants have been from low-income families. This year, there will be a push to share literacy information and reading resources with parents so they are better equipped to encourage their children to read and know where they can access free print and digital reading materials.
In addition to students who participate with their families, students can also participate through a partnership between the district and Neighborhood Outreach Connection, which has locations throughout Beaufort County.
Throughout the eight-week program, Virtual Reading Challenge facilitators Estee Williams and Eve Heaton will monitor student reading submissions, send reminders to log reading and also provide a steady stream of literacy-related information and activities.
For more information on the program and a registration link, visit: https://tinyurl.com/BCSDVirtualSchool2018
Any community group interested in utilizing Virtual Summer Reading Challenge as part of its summer program is encouraged to get in touch with facilitator Estee Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org).