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Summer reading program could help drag test scores

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DULUTH, MN. (CBS 3 Duluth) – The summer reading program at the Duluth Public Library ended Wednesday after hundreds of participants tracked their reading minutes throughout the season.

The program ends just before school starts in Duluth and throughout Northland. The Minnesota Department of Education has released the latest results from the 2022 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment, which measures students’ skills in reading, math, and science.

45% of Minnesota students were proficient in math and 55% proficient in reading. Since 2010, math proficiency has dropped 10 points and reading has slipped seven.

Perhaps the summer reading program in Duluth could increase those numbers. A total of 857 people used the library’s summer program and 650 of them were aged 18 and under.

“It was nice to get out and see kids and read stories and sing songs,” said Maddi Bear, one of the parents at story time at the Duluth Public Library downtown. .

She and her daughter love to read, it even helped her daughter grow up fast.

“I mean it definitely helped her develop her language,” Bear said.

While still young, Bear says her daughter’s understanding has improved since she started turning the pages.

“Now she’s going to sit on the couch with a book and pretend to read the book,” she said, “turning the pages.”

Carmella Hatch is an early literacy librarian. She specializes in books for children and adolescents. Hatch said children model their behavior on adults.

“So if they see the adults in their life reading and enjoying it, they’ll be more likely to do that as well,” she said.

In his opinion, any book can help children with learning loss, such as a large book with chapters or even a smaller graphic novel, but the most important thing for children is to have fun while they read.

But in recent months that enjoyment has been drowned out by concerns from parents and teachers who have come to say their child is not at the reading level they should be.

“I think that was a problem with that in the pandemic in general,” Hatch said, “kids haven’t been given the same kind of education they were getting in the past and the same routine.”

Reading helps children learn other subjects, she says, and can even improve test scores.

“They say before you go into third grade you learn to read and after third grade you often use reading to learn other subjects,” Hatch said.

Reading multi-level books will also help children develop their reading comprehension and their ability to learn vocabulary.

“Having these books that are below their level or on their level is just really good encouragement,” she said, “it builds their confidence that they can read them and they love reading them for that. “

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