There are numerous studies that show children suffer from the summer slide when school is not in session.  Summer slide is the decrease in skills and knowledge over the summer months while children are on summer vacation, when their brains tend to go on vacation too. 

There are many ways to help keep your child’s brain active during the lazy days of summer. 

SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) has a suggestion to keep those little minds active reading this summer.  Our Third Annual SMART Art:  Show, Sale & Social, again features our art contest:  “Inspired by Books and Readers.” 

We invite children of all ages to create original works of art, inspired by a book they have read over the summer.  Complete guidelines can be found at www.getsmartoregon.org  or call 541-355-5600 for more information. 

Harris Cooper, PH.D. at Duke University says “Too many kids turn much of their summer into a video-game or internet marathon.  The brain is a muscle, and like any muscle in the body, if you don’t use, it you lose it.  Although summer seems to fly by, it is certainly long enough for children to lose skills they gained in the previous school year.” 

There are many things parents and caregivers can do to ensure that kids keep reading and keep learning in the summer, including, visiting the library, participating in Lunch and Learn at local parks and making sure there are plenty of books available for reading. 

SMART’s summer art contest is just one more way to encourage your child to pick up a book and read over the summer.   “I’m so excited to have my child participate in the contest.  He loves books and what a great excuse to dig out the finger paints!” said Jeremy, Prineville Parent.   

Art contest submissions will be judged by a panel prior to the event. Winning submissions will be recognized at SMART Art at Aspen Hall in Bend on September 19th at 5:30 at Aspen Hall.  The deadline for art submissions is Friday, September 13th.  “It’s is a great way to engage our local children in a fun, friendly competition that gets them reading and thinking creatively this summer, and provides a nice fundraising opportunity for SMART.” said Diane Turnbull, SMART Area Manager. 

 About SMART® (Start Making A Reader Today)

SMART partners with schools to help children become more confident and proficient readers. Children in PreK-3rd grade are paired with volunteers from our community who serve as reading partners for half-an-hour sessions, twice each week. The program promotes the enhancement of reading skills while fostering friendships.

IIn the 2010-11 school year, SMART provided literacy support to 652 children in Crook, Deschutes, Grant and Jefferson counties thanks to the commitment of 555 volunteers.  Additionally children took home over 6,515 new books in 2010-11 school year to keep as they begin building their own home libraries.   Since our inception 20 years ago, across Oregon SMART has served 144,000 children and given away more than 1.9 million new books.