Help stop the "summer slide" with Forsyth County Library's summer reading program

Kimberly Bond

(FORSYTH COUNTY, GA) Now that school is out, many Forsyth County children are enjoying the newfound freedom and laid-back schedule that come with sunny summer days. While the parks and playgrounds are packed, there’s one slide parents want their kids to avoid - the “summer slide.”

The summer slide is a decline in academic skills, especially reading abilities, that can happen during the months when school isn’t in session. Studies have shown that kids can lose up to 20 percent of their hard-earned school-year gains in reading skills over the summer. These losses can snowball each year, leading to future academic struggles and loss of confidence.

The summer slide doesn’t have to happen, however. Kids who keep up their reading over the summer are less likely to lose their skills, but families need to find creative ways to encourage them.

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Families attend the summer reading program kickoff at the Post Road Library.(Photo/Kimberly Bond)

Summer Reading Fun 2022: Oceans of Possibilities

One way to encourage kids to read more over the summer is by participating in the Forsyth County Library summer reading program. Called “Oceans of Possibilities,” it features prizes, fun events, and plenty of creative ways to get children reading.

Now through July 31st, kids can sign up to track their reading and complete fun activities using Beanstack, which parents can access online through the library’s website or by using an app. By logging their reading and completing literacy-related activities, participants can collect badges and earn points. Preschoolers, elementary students, and teens win prizes when they reach 100, 250, and 500 points, plus they can earn tickets for grand prize drawings to be held at the end of the summer. Adults can sign up too, making it fun to create friendly family challenges to motivate kids to read even more.

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Once they earn enough points in the program, kids get to post a sea creature with their name on it in the "Ocean of Champions."(Photo/Kimberly Bond)

Special program events

Throughout the summer families can attend special events at a local library branch. The Cumming, Post Road, and Hampton Park branches held kickoff events earlier this week. If you missed those, you still have a chance to participate - the Sharon Forks branch has their kickoff event on Friday. The kickoff events feature fun puppet show performances, comedy shows, games, crafts, and the summer program showcase.

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Children sign up for the summer reading program at the Post Road Library.(Photo/Kimberly Bond)

Families can also pick up information about special events that will be going on this summer. For kids in grades K-5, some events to look forward to include performances from Michelle’s Magical Poodles, magic and music shows, and STEM programs with ocean-inspired themes like sharks or the sinking of the Titanic.

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Ocean-themed decorations fill the library.(Photo/Kimberly Bond)

Programs for teens and tweens include cooking and art classes as well as writing workshops and game nights. Most of these programs don’t require advanced registration - check the library website if you are unsure - but make sure you are there early as they tend to be popular and can fill up fast. Don’t forget the regular weekly storytimes for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, and the Saturday ASL/English storytime.

How do you keep your kids learning during the summer? Comment below or email kbondwriter@gmail.com to let us know!

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I'm a writer, editor, and journalist with a background in law and science. I love writing about interesting local places and events in Forsyth County, especially new businesses or family-friendly experiences.

Cumming, GA
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