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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

No summer slide for these book buddies

July 28, 2011

I remember when I was a kid, summers were filled with free time, playing with friends, and reading lots of books. I read everything from horse stories and fantasy to Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mysteries and tons more that were borrowed from friends or from the library.

The media didn't call to us — after all, there was only broadcast television and radio and computers still took up room after room after room — so I suppose there was more time for the simpler things. If anyone had ever heard of the "summer slide" (losing academic skills), they probably thought it was at the park.

A young friend, Kara, who is going into the third grade, seems to be having a summer much like my olden days. Funny, too, because her dad is a computer geek (she even has her own laptop), but Kara raves about the times she and her friend play dress up, go to the pool, ride bikes, visit the library, and share books.

The girls found a new friend in Junie B. Jones apparently liking Junie's unique (and sometimes unorthodox) approach to life and its challenges. The girls might also meet Clementine, Ruby Lu, and Gooney Bird Greene at the library this summer.

Summer, reading, and libraries go together and can go a long way to prevent children from losing skills achieved as documented by Dominican University. Who knows what lasting buddies — and abilities — children will find at the library?

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"Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!" — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943