Reading challenge

Serena Ramirez 6,and State Superintendent of Schools Denise Juneau select books for Serena to read over the summer in the Silver Bow Homes community room Thursday afternoon. The Summer 6 Reading Challenge started by the Office of Public Instruction this year has distributed 3,500 books to children across the state. 

Walter Hinick - Montana Standard

Students leave school in the summer with minds full of knowledge they gained over the year.

But research shows that sometimes kids succumb to the “summer slide,” where much of their education is lost over the three-month break.

The Summer 6 reading challenge initiated by the state’s Office of Public Instruction aims to keep kids reading throughout the summer. With only six books, struggling readers can keep up with their peers and be ready when classes resume in September.

In its first year, nearly 1,000 students from all across Montana participated in the program.

Denise Juneau, state Superintendent of Public Instruction, on Thursday visited the Silver Bow Homes housing complex in Butte, armed with all sorts of reading material to give to kids of all ages.

The free books help students who are most likely to fall behind: children from low-income families.

Juneau said she’s traveled to communities like Missoula, Billings, Great Falls, Arlee, Browning and Lame Deer throughout the summer.

The young readers who attended Juneau’s book giveaway in Butte will have their hands full reading their selections this month, and studies show they’ll likely be up to speed when school starts.

Every child left with the “right” book.

As Juneau helped kids sift through the selections, a boy with a stack of toy cars flipped through a Hot Wheels book.

Mercedes Macumber picked several titles, including “How I Survived Middle School.” The Emerson sixth grader said she thought the book would help her with the transition to East next year.

By Thursday’s end, Juneau said OPI had given out 3,500 books to Montana kids over the summer.

Juneau said students who master reading can use the skill in other content areas, like math and science.

“It’s simple, but it works,” Juneau said.

Reporter Piper Haugan: 496-5572, piper.haugan@mtstandard.com or Twitter.com/Piper_Haugan

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