Spring Branch ISD Reading Program Helps Kids Beat the “Summer Slide” and Win Prizes


Experts say children’s reading skills decline when they don’t read enough during the summer. So Spring Branch ISD’s Summer Reading Challenge invites students to read what they love during the break and even win prizes.

A 2020 report from NWEA, a non-profit organization that studies student growth and skills, showed that over the summer, students in grades three through five lost about 20% of their reading skills they had acquired during the previous school year.

Lisa Stultz, director of library and information services at SBISD, said a small amount of daily reading during the summer can help students perform well through the fall.

“In order to avoid what is known as the ‘summer slide,’ motivating students to read throughout the summer is critically important,” Stultz said. “Students will return in the fall ready to learn new content and will be less likely to need remediation by reading as little as 20 minutes a day during the summer.”

The Summer Reading Challenge is open to all SBISD students, from kindergarten through high school.

As the district celebrates its 75th anniversary, students are encouraged to read 750 minutes in any form they choose. Many high school students will pre-read the books they will revisit during the fall semester. But reading can range from books to magazines to the backs of cereal boxes, or whatever interests them.

Stultz explained that studies show that when students select what they read, they are more likely to keep reading and develop a lasting love for reading. And that, she says, is the main focus of the program.

For the opportunity to win grand prizes, students must read and register their 750 minutes in the Beanstack app, the district’s reading tracker, by August 14.

Stultz noted that SBISD is grateful to the Spring Branch Education Foundation, which donated the grand prizes. The district will raffle the names of two elementary school students to win a Dash Coding Robot Kid. Two middle schoolers will win a Nintendo Switch and two high schoolers will win an Oculus Quest 2, which was recently rebranded as Meta Quest 2. Tickets to the Texans will also be on the table.

Plus, some lucky students will win smaller prize bags throughout the summer, complete with a Reading Rock Star t-shirt, water bottle, and more.

The district provides e-books and audiobooks to families who cannot go to a public library or purchase their own reading materials. Families can visit the Summer Reading Challenge website to learn more about the program, access eBooks and audiobooks, and find links to register for library cards with the Houston Public Library or the Houston Public Library. Harris County. The cards provide instant access to all of the libraries’ digital collections.

Parents can also visit the website for helpful tips on how to get their students reading. Stultz said reading alongside them is a great strategy. “Make reading a family affair by spending 20 minutes a day together where everyone puts their phones on silent and just reads. Talking about what you’ve read over dinner is a great way to continue building your literacy skills.

Stultz said reading, minute by minute, over the summer months can really pay off for students when fall rolls around and they head back to class.

“Coming back to school having maintained their reading stamina is a huge benefit for students,” she said. “Reading 20 minutes a day – at least 750 minutes during the summer – is an easy way to do that.”

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