With the coronavirus pandemic closing libraries and families having to stay away from public places for safety reasons, finding books to read over the summer could be a challenge for most students and families. This prompted staff at Pembroke Academy to think outside the box to provide reading resources and materials.
Staff at Pembroke knew that some children do not have consistent digital access or may not be able to visit traditional sources, such as libraries or bookstores, and wanted to ensure that their scholars had access to a variety of books to read.
In June, several Pembroke staff members gathered at the Kiwanis book warehouse in Detroit to take part in their annual Books for Kids service project. Six hundred brand-new books, ranging in reading levels from pre-kindergarten to eighth-grade were selected, packed in boxes, and taken back to Pembroke’s campus.
These books became part of the Summer Book Exchange Project. After separating the books by grade level, plastic totes were filled and placed at various locations around the outside of the school and are accessible any day, any time for convenience.
Reading during the summer months while school isn’t in session can provide various benefits including fostering a healthy relationship with reading and improving literacy skills. According to ed.gov, “Numerous studies indicate that students who don’t read or read infrequently during their summer vacation see their reading abilities stagnate or decline.”
Rachal Hetzel, dean of special education and intervention at Pembroke, shared the importance of supporting a healthy, exciting relationship with reading for students. “Reading is a foundational skill, and is involved in just about everything we do,” she said. “We know that students who struggle with reading may not practice or read outside of the time required by school. The more time students spend reading, the more success they will have at developing their reading skills.”
Families are invited to come to the school and select books at the appropriate level for their summer reading enjoyment. Throughout the summer, the totes will be replenished so when a family arrives, there will be books for them to choose from.
Hetzel shared that it is important to promote and support students to read during the summer months because daily practice is a must to develop strong reading and comprehension skills. “Reading through the summer will help students stay engaged and focused on learning in preparation for the new school year,” she said.
Way to go, Pembroke!