'Summer reads make me feel fine'

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Ken Esten Cooke—The most critical time of year for students is not the period for six weeks tests or the stress-inducing, end-of-year STAAR test.

Rather it is summertime, when the living is easy, the iPod and video games are limitless, and the books are shelved.

As our students mark either graduation, or promotion to the next grade level, we as parents should mark pride in their accomplishments, but encourage continued reading of subjects that draw their interest over the summer. These are the first steps to a lifelong learning pattern that will help their quality of life as they age.

Fredericksburg Elementary School will open its library on some Tuesdays until noon for students to check out books. Pioneer Memorial Library has its summer reading program. Books are easy to find, affordable and cover virtually any topic one can think up.

Making sure children have strong reading skills helps ensure their success as adults. There are few illiterate success stories, yet there are untold millions of stories of successful people who have made education a lifelong goal.

Stressing the importance of reading can begin at infancy. See our feature on locals trying to help literacy efforts with the “Books for Babies” program in this week’s edition.

There are several things parents can do to encourage reading throughout the summer:

• Find books that correspond to your child’s interests.

• Incorporate reading into your child’s summer routine.

• Find new ways to make reading fun — use e-readers, tablets or smart phones to explore a new platform for books and reading.

• Tap into local resources, like those mentioned above.

• Let your child help with simple activities, like making out a grocery list, or helping find things at the store. (Letting them add up grocery items is also a way to use math skills.)

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