Minnesota education commissioner highlights the importance of summer reading

Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Heather Mueller visited North Mankato Monday afternoon to highlight the importance of summer reading.
Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 6:40 PM CDT
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NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Heather Mueller visited North Mankato Monday afternoon to highlight the importance of summer reading.

She says it is crucial for kids to be able to retain the knowledge and skills learned through the school year.

“Between our school programs and our libraries and our communities, we know that the ongoing access to books is incredibly important to maintain that continuity from what they’re learning and their skills throughout school to be able to transfer that throughout the summer,” Mueller said.

According to the Minnesota Department of Education, young children can experience what they call the ‘Summer Slide,’ where students can lose academic skills, as well as physical fitness over summer break.

“Anytime you have the opportunity to build on those skills, it helps to reinforce what they’re learning,” Mueller added.

The Department of Education says, on average, students can lose two months of reading and 2.6 months of math skills each summer.

This could cause students to fall behind. Yet, community programs, like the North Mankato Taylor Library’s Bookmobile, are working toward encouraging kids to take some time to read during the summer.

“They’re very excited to come on the Bookmobile because it’s kind of a novelty. It’s not the normal library, and it’s fun just to come on. Then, once they come on and they see what’s in here, then they get excited about books,” said Amy Hunt, a librarian at the North Mankato Taylor Library.

The North Mankato Bookmobile makes about 80 stops each month at various locations around the North Mankato area.

“I think it just opens up the different possibilities for reading, so they’re not just stuck with the same couple books that are in their classrooms that we provide. They get the option to choose, which motivates them to read more,” Summer Site Supervisor Morgan Kingsley said.

Mueller says programs like this allow students across the state to have access to books during the summer months.

“I’m just really hoping that it helps to reinforce that there is access not only in this community, but across our state,” Mueller stated.

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