Following Mary Pat

School Street Book Event

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When the school year ends and summer finally rolls around, I always look forward to some extra relaxation time with the family. While summer is a great time for the kids to take a break from their daily workload, it doesn't mean that they shouldn't pick up a book during their break. In fact, sometimes there is nothing more enjoyable on a sunny day than being outside with a good book!

As a Reading Ambassador for Scholastic, Inc., I have pledged to encourage children of all ages to continue to read, especially during the summer months. When children read for pleasure over the summer, they maintain their literacy skills and more easily avoid the "summer slide," the dip in test scores and reading level that students can experience when they return to school in September. As part of The Scholastic Summer Challenge, a program first introduced on April 30, 2009, children across the country have vowed to read four or more books over the summer months. To help students achieve this goal, Scholastic gave me the opportunity to donate 500 books to a school of my choice in New Jersey. So on Thursday, June 10, 2010, I visited School Street Elementary in Boonton, NJ to deliver the good news, along with some of my favorite books.

I knew that School Street Elementary, which serves 274 students from pre-kindergarten to third grade, would be a perfect choice to receive new children's books because they primarily focus on literacy skills. They have also established a summer reading initiative with lists of grade-appropriate book recommendations and a commitment to challenging their students to read every day at their individual levels. I could tell that Boonton's teachers and parents' enthusiasm had equally infected their students, who were delighted to know that they had brand-new books to read. Now the only challenge is what to read first, The Magic School Bus: Inside the Human Body or Swindle?