Manistee area public schools participate in summer reading program


MANISTEE — A study by Brown University’s Annenberg Institute found that the average student loses between 17 and 28 percent of their English language gains during the school year during the summer break that follows.

Manistee-area public schools have taken action to combat the ‘summer slide’ by partnering with Kids Read Now to send free books throughout the summer to all students in kindergarten through fourth year.

Kids Read Now is a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating learning loss for young students by working with school districts to implement and manage summer reading programs and/or whole school year.

“We help make academic dreams come true by transforming your summer reading program and enlightening young minds,” reads the organization’s website.

Through the summer reading program, students received nine books that were mailed to their homes. These books included multicultural, fiction, and non-fiction titles. Each book included guided questions designed to help improve reading skills and increase family engagement. The ninth and final book contained illustrated creative writing prompts so students could write their own stories.

The children were able to keep their books to strengthen their libraries at home.

Amber Kowatch, director of the MAPS program, said the district used funds from the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Fund to help fund its participation in the program.

“Many students will experience a loss of reading skills during the summer months. With the challenges of the pandemic over the past two years, these losses are even more concerning,” Kowatch said in a press release. “…The extra learning provided by programs like Kids Read Now will help our students stay on track. with learning expectations.

The program summary showed that students at Jefferson Elementary School read the most books and that 13 students completed the entire summer reading challenge.

To learn more about Kids Read Now, visit


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