Summer reading is so different than reading for school. Here are 3 reasons to encourage it for kids.

1. "Summer Slide." It sounds fun, but it's not what you think!

Ooh, like a water slide? Who doesn't love a water slide?

But nope. "Summer slide" is the backslide that happens when a kid's learning activities stall out for three whole months. Sociologists say the summer slide compounds over the years of a child's schooling and is a main factor for big differences in achievement between students from low-income and high-income families.


Not the kind of slide we like, is it? Quote via Reading Is Fundamental.

2. This highly scientific reason from my teen son:

"When I read during the summer, I have more time to get lost in the book and luxuriate in it. I get to read for the love of reading, and not for an assignment, not on a deadline. Summer reading has been the path to me actually loving reading."
— Axel, son of Angie Aker

And he's not wrong, according to Alfie Kohn, a critic of strictly regimented reading:

"Nothing contributes to a student's interest in (and proficiency at) reading more than the opportunity to read books that he or she has chosen. But it's easy to undermine the benefits of free reading. All you need to do is stipulate that students must read a certain number of pages, or for a certain number of minutes, each evening.

When they're told how much to read, they tend to just 'turn the pages' and 'read to an assigned page number and stop,' says Christopher Ward Ellsasser, a California high school teacher."

If we want reading to become a lifelong source of joy, letting kids truly pick their own material and time and place for it is key.

When your hands fall asleep from holding up a book you're engrossed in. That. Photo by SpiritFire/Flickr.

3. Free books for kids in grades 1-6!

It's a pretty sweet deal from Barnes & Noble. Here's how it works:

  • Kids read ANY eight books. Yes, ANY eight books, and they can be from the library or home or wherever.
  • They fill out this brief log (no book reports, no allotted amount of time).
  • They bring it in to Barnes & Noble and pick out a free book from the list.

If you can help a kid truly love reading, you can open up an entire world of possibilities for them. All the knowledge they need to do anything they set their mind to is in a book somewhere, just waiting for them to find it.

That moment when your eyelids are too heavy to read one more word. Photo by WoodleyWonderWorks/Flickr.

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Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

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Who would have thought that giving the world access to all human knowledge via the internet, the ability to follow and hear from experts on any subject via social media, and the ability to see what's happening anywhere in the world via smartphones with cameras would result in a terrifying percentage of the population believing and spouting nothing but falsehoods day in and day out?

Those of us who value facts, reason, and rational thought have found ourselves at some of our fellow citizens and thinking, "Really? THIS is how you choose to use the greatest tool humanity has ever created? To spew unfounded conspiracy theories?"

It's a marvel, truly.

Between Coronavirus/Bill Gates/5G conspiracies and QAnon/Evil Cabal/Pedophile conspiracies, I thought we were pretty much full up on kooky for 2020. But apparently not. The massive fires up and down the West Coast have ignited even more conspiracy theories, some of which local law enforcement and even the FBI have had to debunk.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

It sounds like a ridiculous, sensationalist headline, but it's real. In Cheshire County, New Hampshire, a transsexual, anarchist Satanist has won the GOP nomination for county sheriff. Aria DiMezzo, who refers to herself as a "She-Male" and whose campaign motto was "F*** the Police," ran as a Republican in the primary. Though she ran unopposed on the ballot, according to Fox News, she anticipated that she would lose to a write-in candidate. Instead, 4,211 voters filled in the bubble next to her name, making her the official Republican candidate for county sheriff.

DiMezzo is clear about why she ran—to show how "clueless the average voter is" and to prove that "the system is utterly and hopelessly broken"—stances that her win only serves to reinforce.

In a blog post published on Friday, DiMezzo explained how she had never tried to hide who she was and that anyone could have looked her up to see what she was about, in addition to pointing out that those who are angry with her have no one to blame but themselves:

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Katie Neeves (L) photo by Jayne Walsh, JK Rowling (R) photo by Sjhill, CC BY-SA 3.0

Dear JK Rowling,

I am writing this letter to say a big thank you to you. You may think it strange that a gobby trans woman such as me would wish to thank you after all your recent transphobic outpourings, but let me explain…

I certainly don't thank you for your lengthy essay last month where you describe the abuse you have suffered (for which you have my sympathy) and in which you stated that you do not hate trans people, while at the same time peddling even more anti-trans mis-information. Sadly, your diatribe directly caused some trans children to self-harm and other to attempt suicide.

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