The wonders of summer and the joys of reading have been sharing center stage for many Lexington 4 students and their families.
And on Thursday, close to 500 hundred members of the Swansea community turned out at the district’s Early Childhood Center for a carnival-styled gathering designed to celebrate and promote reading.
“The goal is to keep kids reading through the summer,” district spokeswoman Lisa Ingram said of the event that was launched two years ago and has grown in popularity each year.
The proof of that popularity was vividly on display Thursday evening as a long line formed at the doors well before the 5 p.m. kickoff.
“They were here at 4:15,” Ingram said.
Awaiting them inside were various games, booths, tables, presentations and displays – all targeted to reading.
“This is just a way to celebrate the reading that has taken place throughout the summer,” Ingram said.
The celebration is among many efforts undertaken in Lexington 4 and other school districts to prevent what is known as the “summer slide.” That’s when young minds are not challenged for three months, and national education experts believe that children who do not read over the summer will lose more than two months of reading achievement.
“Our goal is to build not just students who are readers but a whole community,” she said.
Members of the Lexington 4 family – including Swansea High School cheerleaders, band members and football players – were joined Thursday by others in the community including churches, civic groups and representatives from law enforcement, banks and other businesses.
“We can’t get out of our bedtime (with her) without three or four books a night,” Rosebury said. “Reading is a part of our everyday life. To be successful, you have to read.”
“I even see some of my friends here,” he said.
“He really loves dogs,” she said.
Thomas described Thursday’s pep rally of sorts as a fitting way to encourage the regular practice of reading.
“We know that the summer reading is so important to what we do during the year, so what better way to celebrate.”