Students tugged at their parents’ shirt sleeves, pulling them through a colorful, mountainous collection of 2,300 books piled high all around them in the Lynwood Unified School District Office on June 28.
These Lynwood Unified summer school students – more than 250 of them – had full access to pick out three books to take home as part of the District’s inaugural Scholastic Literacy Event, where parents, guardians and District personnel encouraged students always to maintain strong literacy skills. Summer learning loss poses a danger to the academic success of students who live in under-resourced communities. If any, very few students in such communities have opportunities to engage in activities that limit the effects of summer learning loss. The activities, most of which happen by default in more affluent communities that are known to help mitigate summer learning loss are family vacations, trips to museums, summer camps and of most importance, reading.
Scholastic Literacy Events are specially designed to empower families to support their children’s academic achievement through interactive activities – giving them the tools and skills necessary to build a culture of literacy at home. As a byproduct, summer learning loss is mitigated as we know that students living in poverty often enter school years behind their more affluent counterparts because of the knowledge that is lost between the end of one school year and the start of another.
Almost 200 parents and guardians accompanied their children to the event, taking pictures with Clifford the Big Red Dog and listening to stories from District staff about learning to read and the importance of literacy.
“It all starts with reading – it is the foundation for learning,” Lynwood Unified Director of Equity and Literacy Event coordinator Patricia Brent-Sanco said. “A child’s life can open up when they open a book, and you must learn to read to qualify for 21st-century careers. We want to get students and their parents excited about reading so that it will always be an integral part of their lives.”
“I really love books, so it was fun for me and my family to come and pick up some new ones,” incoming Hosler Middle School seventh-grader Susana Zelaya said. “I was surprised at how many good stories there were to choose from.”
Librarians from Lynwood Unified school sites assisted students in selecting their books. Students were able to pick out one book that correlated with their grade-level learning curriculum, and two fun tales like the “How do Dinosaurs Say Good Night,” “Olaf’s Night Before Christmas” from Disney’s “Frozen,” and “Shake to Assemble” featuring Marvel’s Hulk.
All 2,300 books were donated by Scholastic, Read Lead, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Lakeshore Learning and Feed the Children.
“This truly was a community-focused event, and we were all thrilled to see so many students and parents here,” Lynwood Unified Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said. “This was only our first time doing this event, so I know next year will be even larger and will spread the importance of reading to even more students