Your child doesn’t stop growing over the summer. Make sure he doesn’t stop learning, either.

That is the message that the non-profit Read Aloud 15 MINUTES wants parents to receive during its “Seize the Summer” campaign that kicked off on July 5.

“Daily reading aloud is a tried-and-true way to combat the summer slide that so many school-age children experience,” says Read Aloud 15 MINUTES Executive Director Bob Robbins. “The National Summer Learning Association estimates that two months of learning may be lost over the summer months, and low-income children are especially vulnerable. We believe that reading aloud every day can not only stop learning loss, but actually build knowledge and skills.”

For its Seize the Summer campaign, Read Aloud 15 MINUTES is providing its more than 3,500 partners in all 50 states with downloadable materials that remind parents, “Don’t forget the books!” along with other summer essentials like sunscreen and sunglasses.

Through its rapidly expanding grassroots network, Read Aloud 15 MINUTES plans to reach an unprecedented number of parents during its Seize the Summer campaign. Indeed, during the past three months, the non-profit has more than doubled its partners nationwide and surpassed 100,000 followers on Facebook.

“We are thrilled that our partners are sharing our message that daily reading aloud from birth is not merely an enhancement to a child’s development — it is an essential requirement,” says Read Aloud 15 MINUTES Co-Founder and President Dr. Candace Kendle. “Whether it’s with an infant in your arms, or a school-age child tucked in her bed this summer, daily reading aloud grows brains, vocabulary, knowledge and literacy skills. We believe when all parents take that message to heart, it will change the face of education in this country.”

July’s Seize the Summer effort, one of Read Aloud 15 MINUTES’ three annual campaign pulses in its decade-long push, brings together a diverse coalition of partners — from corporations such as UPS and the Home Depot, to educational giants such as SUNY and the University of North Carolina, to thousands of grassroots groups, such as local school districts, libraries, and day care centers — that collaborate to reach a broad audience of millions of parents and caregivers nationwide.

To learn more and view Read Aloud National Campaign Partner materials, visit www.readaloud.org/downloads.html.

Read Aloud 15 MINUTES is a non-profit organization that is working to make reading aloud every day for at least 15 minutes the new standard in child care. When every child is read aloud to for 15 minutes every day from birth, more children will be ready to learn when they enter kindergarten, more children will have the literacy skills needed to succeed in school and more children will be prepared for a productive and meaningful life after school.

Life columnist

Linda Braden Albert worked as a feature writer and editor at The Daily Times. She is now the editor of Horizon Magazine and a columnist.

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