Parents serve on the front lines of the annual battle against the dreaded “summer slide”. This “slide” or drop in achievement levels from spring to fall is usually blamed on the multi-month summer vacation. While kids love the extended break from their school’s structured learning environment, studies have repeatedly shown that it can play havoc with students’ retention of what they learned during the previous school year. Teachers work hard each fall to overcome this “slide” by leading students through an intensive multi-week review of the previous year’s main concepts.
The single most important way for kids to avoid the summer slide is to do lots of reading during the long summer months. For children entering Grades 3-6, one of the best places to find great books for summer reading is the Texas Bluebonnet Book list. This is a collection of 20 newly published books selected each year by the Texas Library Association. The list consists of numerous award winners, are written at different reading levels, and include diverse characters and a variety of genres and topics.
But these 20 books add up to more than just another reading list. The list is comprised of the current year’s nominees for the Texas Bluebonnet Award. Every January, children who have read at least 5 of the 20 nominated books are eligible to help select the winner of the Texas Bluebonnet Award through an election conducted at libraries throughout the state. This past January, 131,000 Texas children voted. After the election, many libraries have celebrations for their Bluebonnet participants. For instance, at HISD’s Shearn Elementary where I serve as Librarian, our Bluebonnet Party usually includes pizza, ice cream, games, and of course free books and bookmarks as prizes.
The summer is a great time to get a head start on the Texas Bluebonnet Nominee list. Reminding your children about their role in selecting this state-wide award and the possibility of attending campus Bluebonnet Celebrations are great motivators for children who might need extra incentives for their summer reading. You can also find book trailers, author interviews, and tracking charts for free at www.txla.org/TBA. These resources provide yet another way to get your kids excited about deciding which Bluebonnet Book to read next!
You can find these great books for sale at Tomfoolery Toys and Books* as well as at area libraries. So do your part in combating the “summer slide” by bringing your kids to Tomfoolery Toys and Books and helping them pick out a few of this year’s Bluebonnet nominees. Stop that “summer slide” in its tracks!
*For a limited time, Tomfoolery is providing a special offer to encourage customers to read Bluebonnet books: all Bluebonnet Books are being offered for sale at 20% off publisher’s list price from now through June 13! This offer cannot be combined with any other offer.