Superintendent Juneau Launches Summer 6 Reading Challenge

Thursday, May 31, 2012
By Allyson Hagen


May 31, 2012

Contact: Allyson Hagen,, 406-444-3160

Superintendent Juneau Launches Summer 6 Reading Challenge

Juneau to Give Away Thousands of Books this Summer


Helena, MT – Superintendent Denise Juneau was joined by local librarians, educators and students at Rossiter School in Helena to launch the "Summer 6 Reading Challenge" and give away books to young readers and local summer programs that serve children when school is not in session.


"This summer, I'm reaching out to students, parents, libraries, schools and organizations that serve children during the summer and asking them to join me in taking the Summer 6 Reading Challenge to make sure students don't lose the reading skills they've worked so hard on during the school year while they are on summer vacation," said Superintendent Juneau. "As a former English teacher, instilling a love of reading in Montana students is of special importance to me; however, we all know how critical reading skills are for the future success of our children."


Superintendent Juneau is partnering with local libraries, summer food sites, Boys and Girls Clubs and other organizations that serve children during the summer months to promote the Summer 6 Reading Challenge and to increase access to books by donating more than 3,000 children's books at events across the state throughout the summer.


Stated Jennie Stapp, Montana State Librarian, “As librarians, we know how literacy skills help people reach their full potential.  By encouraging reading to maintain and improve students’ reading abilities during the summer months, Montana’s libraries work hard to ensure that the youngest in our communities realize this potential." She continued, "For this reason, the State Library, and public libraries across Montana, are thrilled to support the Summer 6 Reading Challenge, a program that will continue to foster Montana’s young readers.”    


Research shows that students who don’t read during the summer break run the risk of losing some of their reading comprehension skills and have a much harder time catching up when school starts again in the fall. This is called the “summer slide.” Over the years, the achievement gap widens between students who read during the summer break and those who don’t. Research also demonstrates that reading just six books during the summer can help keep a struggling reader from falling behind.


Pad McCracken from the Lewis & Clark Library stated, "One of my favorite aspects of summer reading is that it is truly free reading for kids. They are free to read what they want to: re-read a favorite book, read comic books, listen to audiobooks with family, or peruse magazines on subjects of interest." He continued, "Sure, it maintains and further develops crucial language skills, but it's about reading for pleasure and fun!"


As part of the challenge, Juneau has launched a web page where students can sign up to take the "Summer 6 Reading Challenge" and become eligible for prizes. The web page also has tips for families, schools and libraries to encourage summer reading.


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