During the last few weeks, I introduced our police department’s recent, in-depth performance review and our newly adopted performance measurements. If you’d like to know more about our performance and how we plan to measure it going forward, read our entire report at www.ukiahpolice.com/about-us/statistical-information.
Over the summer, I plan to tell you more about our findings and how we’re always looking for ways we can improve, but I thought I’d take a break from reports and statistics this week to tell you about a great program within our community that I am passionate about: Ukiah Reads.
Experts say that children who read during the summer gain reading skills, while those who do not often slide backward.
According to a report from the National Summer Learning Association, “It's common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer. That month of re-teaching eliminates a month that could have been spent on teaching new information and skills.”
To help, the Ukiah Unified School District (UUSD) created a program called, “Ukiah Reads.” This is the program’s second year, and the Wells Fargo Foundation graciously provided $3,000 in funding to help make it a success.
The program celebrates great books; fosters a love of reading (especially during summer); and invites parents, community members, and businesses to get involved with local schools. It does this by preparing a carefully selected summer reading list for each grade level, and encouraging kids to read during the summer, thereby helping them be ready to return to their classrooms in the fall.
You can learn more about Ukiah Reads by visiting our Mendocino County Library in Ukiah, the Mendocino Book Company at 102 S. School Street, the Village Bookstore at 344 N. State Street, or by visiting www.uusd.net/pages/Ukiah_Unified/ukiahreads.
At the UUSD website, you’ll find a link to a booklet that lists all of the books suggested by our own local teachers and librarians. This booklist offers stories full of mystery, adventure, romance, friendship, heartbreak, great joy, and much more. As Ukiah Reads says, “A magical world of reading awaits you!”
Ukiah Unified School District Board Member, Anne Molgaard, is also passionate about this program. Anne says that this year, Ukiah Reads also recommends a fantastic book for local adults to read, called “Wonderstruck” by Brian Selznick. Wonderstruck, the reviews say, takes readers on an awe-inspiring journey of a young boy. It is set in 1977; the boy’s story is told entirely with words, while the story of a young girl, set fifty years earlier, is told entirely with pictures.
At the Reading Is Fundamental website (rif.org), author Kathryn Perkinson says that, “…helping your children enjoy reading is one of the most important things you can do as a parent, and it’s well worth the investment of your time and energy. Kids will learn reading skills in school, but often they come to associate reading with work, not pleasure. As a result, they lose their desire to read. And it is that desire—the curiosity and interest—that is the cornerstone to using reading and related skills successfully.”
The Reading Is Fundamental website warns that during summer break many are thinking about family vacations, trips to the pool, keeping children engaged in activities at home, the abrupt changes to everyone's schedule—and how to juggle it all. What parents might not be focusing on is how much educational ground their children could lose during the three-month break from school, particularly when it comes to reading.
Finding productive summertime activities for kids can be difficult, and sometimes whey they don’t have direction, kids can be unsafe or even become destructive. I think it is extremely important that we find ways to keep them busy – and keep them reading!
Productive activities help prevent kids from committing, or becoming victims of, crimes. Keeping kids busy (and reading) really does help keep them safe.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have any suggestions or comments about how we can improve, please feel free to call me, complete our online survey, or leave a crime tip on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.