On June 17, the last day of school for Springfield Public Schools, WGBY held its last Bark About Books kick offs in 7 Springfield schools. All graduating kindergarteners in these schools – over 575 of them — received a Martha Speaks bag & book. Almost 400 hundred families are enrolled in the summer reading program, designed to help stem the “summer slide” when children can lose important skills they and their teachers work hard to acquire during the school year.
Bark About Books kick offs have been a wonderful time to talk and read with these beautiful, enthusiastic children and to impress upon families the importance of reading and talking together throughout the summer. The children express their love of PBS Kids programs such as Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog, and when they see the Martha plush, they call out her name and often say “I love Martha.” Such beloved characters can be strong motivation for learning!
Students enrolled in the program are mailed 5 books over the summer as a way to encourage family reading. Thanks to WGBY’s partnership with WGBH in Boston, who receives funding from the Krueger Foundation, Bark About Books has served nearly 1000 Springfield kindergarteners over the past 3 years.
We’d appreciate hearing from you about the “summer slide” and school calendars that interrupt student learning for over two months each summer.