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Summer Slide? When Pigs Fly!

Gwen Hoke would sooner see a pig fly than spend her summer reading.

Wait, let’s rephrase that: Gwen Hoke is reading this summer so she can see a pig fly.

Autumn Chesebro selects a book to read at Arrow Readers on the Move

She really is. In exchange for reading books she chooses, the soon-to-be middle-schooler snagged a kite emblazoned with a cartoon swine. She said she plans to catch a breeze with it in her front yard.

“I like to read,” Gwen said. “And this month I’m not very busy, so it’s a great way to spend those free days.”

Gwen is one of about 200 area youngsters expected to take part this summer in Arrow Readers on the Move. It’s a district-sponsored mobile reading program that travels around, helping school-age students in grades K-5 — whether they attend Lowell or not — keep their reading skills sharp in exchange for prizes such as T-shirts, ice cream coupons and, of course, kites.

Soon-to-be middle schooler Gwen Hoke says the summer reading program is “a great way to spend those free days”

Kim Lum, a Cherry Creek second-grade teacher who coordinates the program, said Arrow Readers has been around for about a decade. In 2015 and 2016 it was funded by the Lowell Rotary. This year, general funds are footing the bill to have staff at each location to help students practice reading and take comprehension quizzes.

“The students who read during the summer come back in the fall at least where they left off,” Lum said.

Just about all West Michigan public school districts promote summer reading. Neighboring Forest Hills Public Schools emails weekly tips to district families, keeps some elementary libraries open during summer and will host summer reading events such as an author visit at Pine Ridge Elementary.


Three Ways to Prevent Summer Slide

10 Tips for Reducing the Summer Reading Slide

Kent District Library summer reading program

Sabin Ingraham takes a quiz on a book he’s read as his mom, Angie Ingraham, looks on

Kim Lum, second-grade teacher at Cherry Creek Elementary, says Lowell’s summer reading program helps students maintain their skills


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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills and Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio or email Morgan.


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