District honors summer readers
Parents and educators know that summer reading is the key to enhancing children’s skill retention during the summer months. Research has proven 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 nine years, the Point Pleasant Borough School District has fought the affects 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 Ninth Annual Summer Reading Program, which wrapped up on Aug. 20.
“Though the Summer Reading Program technically ended last month, the official conclusion took place this past Monday, Sept. 19, 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, Board of Education President Susan Ward and Vice-President Sean Hagan were joined by the district’s school based administrators and members of the Summer Reading Committee as they recognized the 34 winners of the Ninth 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 ninth 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 nine 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.
“This year’s themes - “On Your Mark, Get Set…Read” for children, and “Get in the Game: Read” for teens – were based on the Summer Olympics with each grade represented by a different Olympic game,” said Dr. Ladd. “In alignment with those themes, the Summer Reading Committee randomly selected Bronze, Silver and Gold prizewinners.”
Dr. Ladd said the prize structure differed from previous years when the student from each grade that read the most books won a Top Reader prize, while a random drawing was done per school to select a grand prizewinner.
“Changing the prize selection criteria to a random drawing gave each participating student an equal chance to win, making the contest more equitable,” 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, Bronze prizewinners received a $20 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble as well as pair of passes to Jenksinson’s Aquarium; and Silver prizewinners received a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card, a $5 Bubbakoo’s Burritos Gift Card and a pair of passes to Liberty Science Center.
From Ocean Road Elementary School, the Bronze prizewinners included; Sherri Surenian for grade one; Anna Getcliffe for grade two; Ava Cordasco for grade three; Rachel Gross for grade four; and Logan Stalker in grade five. Ocean Road’s Silver prizewinners included, from grade one, Abigail Dentice; Curren Soleau, grade two; Codi Damerau, grade three; Collin Najdzinowicz from grade four; and Austin Sherwood in grade five.
At Nellie F. Bennett Elementary School, the Bronze prizewinners in grades one through five, in ascending order, were; Patrick Kennedy, Eric Kinzel, Marin Tansey, Makaila Scully and Joselyn Roller. Nellie Bennett’s Silver winners included, Amelia Kajewski from grade one; Logan Scully in grade two; Madeline Ferrara-Preece in grade three; Cleat Oakes in grade four; and Ava Candelmo in grade five.
Memorial Middle School’s Bronze readers were; Sam Gross for grade six; Noelle Zavattieri in grade seven; and Kenny Tran in grade eight. The middle school’s Silver winners included, Ryan Koscinski in grade six; grade seven’s Sarah Santos; and Kimberly Koscinski in grade eight.
Point Pleasant Borough High School’s Bronze readers were; Al ten Broeke Levitsky in grade nine and Katy Tran in grade 11. Silver winners were, in grade nine, Meiling Ren and Kiersten Shea in grade 11.
“In addition to the Bronze and Silver prizewinners, one student was selected from each school, from among all entries received, to win the Gold 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 brand new Kindle Fire HD tablet.”
Dr. Ladd was then joined by representatives from the Education Foundation and the school PTO’s to distribute the tablets to, Meghan Grace from Ocean Road Elementary School; Nellie F. Bennett Elementary School’s Dylan Munyan; from Memorial Middle School, Lily Erdman; and from Point Pleasant Borough High School, Nicole DeJacimo.
“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.”