April 9, 2004, Extra Credit
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April 9, 2004

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Encouraging Summer Reading

In South Dakota yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education announced the No Child Left Behind Summer Reading Achievers program, which encourages students in grades K-8 to read actively during the summer months and avoid the loss of reading skills that often occurs during summer vacation. This year's program will be run at the following sites: Springfield, MA; Portsmouth, NH; Pittsburgh; Camden, NJ; Atlanta; Gainesville, FL; Kansas City, KS; Minneapolis; Albuquerque, NM; San Diego and the state of South Dakota. The sites were selected based on supportive community and business groups and active school district leaders who are working to reduce the achievement gap. To participate in the program, students must read 10 age-appropriate books during the summer months. Students will be required to describe briefly the books they have read by completing a simple form. Prizes and certificates will be awarded to successful students, and special recognition will be given to schools with the highest percentages of participating students. The following are excerpts from yesterday's announcement in South Dakota:

"Gov. Mike Rounds promised students at North Middle School he would buy ice cream if they read this summer. Rounds was at North on Thursday afternoon to announce South Dakota's participation in the federal Department of Education's No Child Left Behind Summer Reading Achievers program. ... 'No Child Left Behind means in South Dakota that we care about every single child,' Rounds said. 'We all know that during the summertime break, youngsters forget a little bit of what they learned in school,' he said.

"North principal Jeanne Burckhard said students often return to school in the fall with poorer reading skills than they left with in the spring. 'We really spend probably the first four or five weeks getting them back,' she said. Rounds challenged all students at North and fifth-graders from General Beadle Elementary School, who attended the meeting at North, to read 10 books they like this summer. ... If the students meet the goal, Rounds will throw North an ice cream party in September."

"South Dakota's secretary of education, Rick Melmer, told students he, too, would be back for ice cream. Melmer accompanied Rounds and Laurie Rich, assistant secretary of the U.S. Education Department's Office of Intergovernmental and Interagency Affairs, to announce the reading program. Rich said Thursday's announcement was the first official kickoff for the summer reading program. ... 'We hope to learn some things about the best way to encourage kids to read during the summer,' Rich said."

"'This is absolutely wonderful for our district,' Margie Rosario, president of the Rapid City School Board, said. Rosario said the summer reading program fits well with the school district's emphasis on improving each child's reading skills. That initiative began 10 years ago. 'This is just keeping right in line with all that progress,' she said."


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NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

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Last Modified: 08/13/2013