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Point Pleasant School District honors summer readersSummer Reading Program Winners

Summer reading is key to enhancing children’s skill retention throughout the summer months. Research has shown that children that don’t read or participate in any educational activities during the summer can lose two-to-three months of grade-level equivalency, in a phenomenon called the “summer slide,” which can have significant lasting consequences.

“Experts agree that reading during the summer months can be the most effective means of combating the summer slide,” said Point Pleasant Schools’ Director of Curriculum & Instruction Susan Ladd, Ed.D.

“Children who read during the summer months don’t just retain their literacy skills, they actually gain them, which leads to increased academic performance when school resumes, while the inverse is true for children who do not read during the summer,” said Dr. Ladd. “These children often slide backward, losing literacy skills and reading progress.”

For the past 10 years, the Point Pleasant School District has fought the effects of the summer slide with the annual Summer Reading Program.

“The Summer Reading Program helps cultivate a love of reading among our students,” said Dr. Ladd, who, along with a committee, oversees the Summer Reading Program. “There are no limitations on summer reading, students are able to select the books they want to read. And as long as the books they select are appropriate to their reading level and ability, they can read almost anything. The makes the benefits recursive – because students choose their own reading material, they are much more likely to enjoy what they’re reading, which will lead to increased voluntary reading, and ultimately, to increased proficiency.”

According to Dr. Ladd, students from the district’s four schools participated in this year’s Tenth Annual Summer Reading Program, which wrapped up on Aug. 25.

“Though the Summer Reading Program technically ended last month, the official conclusion took place this past Monday, Sept. 18, with the announcement of the program’s prizewinners at a special award ceremony during the Board of Education’s September Business Meeting,” she said.
Dr. Ladd and Board of Education Vice-President Larry Williams were joined by the district’s school based administrators and members of the Summer Reading Committee as they recognized the 38 winners of the Tenth Annual Summer Reading Program.
“Honoring the participants of the district’s Annual Summer Reading Program has become a September Board of Education tradition,” Superintendent Smith said at the meeting.
“Now in its tenth year, the Summer Reading Program is one of the most highly anticipated events of the entire school year and year-after-year, participation in the program remains high,” he said before deferring to Dr. Ladd for the presentation of awards.
“Summer reading is key to developing life-long reading habits and maintaining literacy skills,” Dr. Ladd told the audience. “Students who participate in the Summer Reading Program have demonstrated greater retention over the summer and improved academic performance during the school year.
“For the past 10 years, Point Pleasant Borough Schools’ Summer Reading Program has been recognizing and rewarding students in kindergarten through grade 12 for reading books during the summer months,” she said.

“Every student that participates and completes a reading log has an equal chance to win,” she said. “Thanks to the generosity of our program’s sponsors, we were able to select two prizewinners from each grade in addition to the grand prizewinner from each school.”
According to Dr. Ladd, the winners received a prize pack containing a $25 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble, a pair of passes to Jenkinson’s Aquarium, a pair of passes to Liberty Science Center, and a gift card for a free meal at Bubbakoo’s Burritos.
From Ocean Road Elementary School, the grade level prizewinners included; Evelyn Bober and Nicole Magliaro from grade one; Bellamy Malinowski and Parker Califano in grade two; Emily Pagano and Heidi Hagemeyer in grade three; Emme Willbergh and Daniel Barlow in grade four; and John Brennan and Dylan Johnson in grade five.
At Nellie F. Bennett Elementary School, winners included, in grade one Molly Boehning and Lucy Connelly; from grade two Matthew Henn and Thomas Vuono; Haily Murawski and Tezra Kawczynski in grade three; Jack Scalabrini and Aidan Hooper in grade four; and Abigail Henry and Nate Anderson from grade five.
Memorial Middle School’s Summer Reading Program winners were; Robyn Kajewski and Gurkaran Singh in grade six; Kelly Burns and Blaik Slavinski in grade seven; and Megan Craig and Frank Murphy in grade eight.
The winning students at Point Pleasant Borough High School were; Abigail Willmot and Xander Zindzius in grade nine; Al ten Broeke Levitsky and Angela Ren in grade 10; Sydney Kern and Shelby Oliphant in grade 11; and Elizabeth Kissel and Cara Dvorak in grade 12.
“In addition to the grade level prizewinners, one student was selected from each school, from among all entries received, to win a grand prize,” said Dr. Ladd. “The funds to purchase these grand prizes come from a special partnership between the district and the Point Pleasant Foundation for Excellence in Education, with the support of our district’s Parent-Teacher Organizations. It’s thanks to these organizations’ overwhelming generosity, our grand prizewinners will each take home a $100 Amazon Gift Card.”
Dr. Ladd was then joined by representatives from the district PTO’s to distribute the gift cards to, Mikey DeFrancesco from Ocean Road Elementary School; Nellie F. Bennett Elementary School’s Abby Johnson; from Memorial Middle School, Sarah Santos; and from Point Pleasant Borough High School, Emily Bobowski.
“Whether by modeling positive reading habits or by donating items to reward our students, the community has been incredibly supportive of the Summer Reading Program, which has been vital to its success and longevity,” said Dr. Ladd before distributing certificates of appreciation to the Point Pleasant Foundation for Excellence in Education and district’s Parent-Teacher Organizations who were in attendance.
“The Summer Reading Program is a perfect example of success achieved through collaboration between the school district, the community and our students and their parents,” said Superintendent Smith. “The program provides structure and tangible rewards for our students, while fostering positive reading habits. Although, the prizes may serve as the initial attraction, the end result is the same – improved reading skills. As we all know, students who read over the summer are more likely to read at or above grade level, which translates into improved academic performance during the school year.”

“The entire district shares my sincere gratitude to all of the program’s benefactors, especially the Point Pleasant Foundation for Excellence in Education as well as our district’s PTOs, for their generous support in providing incentives to encourage our students’ participation,” added Mr. Smith.  “I believe that our students’ continued engagement in summer reading is a testament to the members of both our staff and our community, who help to make the Summer Reading Program possible.”

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