1. There are gaps to be filled
When school lets out for summer, it’s up to parents to find other means of care for their children. Even for those who have that aspect taken care of, it can be a challenge providing breakfast and lunch on weekdays, especially for those who get those meals at school the rest of the year. It may not sound like much, but those extra meals can break a family’s budget, especially for parents with multiple school-aged children. Then there’s the issue of the “summer slide,” in which students’ reading skills tend to decline if they’re not kept engaged during the monthslong break from school.
2. Meals are provided through summer feeding program
Lincoln County Schools is again participating in the nationwide Summer Food Service Program. Through the program, the district’s child nutrition staff partners with outside agencies in the community to set up locations where breakfast and lunch are served free of charge for children 18 and younger. “The Summer Food Service Program was established to ensure that children receive nutritious meals when school is not in session,” Lincoln County Schools Child Nutrition Director Shelly Rhyne said. “Lincoln County Schools is currently partnering with 17 locations to provide summer meals. These locations serve as meal sites and include schools, churches, community centers and other safe places for kids and teens.” There is no registration required to participate. Parents just bring their children to a meal site at the designated time for a free meal. To find a meal site near you, text “FoodNC” to 877-877, or visit lincoln.k12.nc.us.
3. The district offers reading camps
“School may be officially out for the summer, but there are still ways to keep children engaged and reading over the summer,” Lincoln County Schools Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Rhonda Hager said. “Lincoln County Schools will hold a summer reading camp for 12 days at two sites for first, second, and third graders who meet specific criteria. These programs will be held at Childers Elementary and Pumpkin Center Intermediate schools, but will have children from all of our elementary schools attending.”
4. The district also partners with the YMCA
The YMCA of Greater Charlotte partners with school districts in the area to offer its Y Readers program. The mission of the program is to provide the additional support students need to be proficient in reading by the end of third grade. This year, the four-week program is being held at Iron Station Elementary for first and second graders, although only select students from Iron Station and Catawba Springs Elementary schools are eligible to attend.
5. The Lincoln County Public Library is another resource
The Lincoln County Public Library holds an annual summer learning program with a focus on literacy, science, technology, art and a variety of other subjects. The library has a series of educational events planned in June and July, and for each minute a student reads and/or attends a program, participants will earn points they can redeem for chances to win prizes. For more information, call the Jonas Library at 704-735-8044 or visit mylincolnlibrary.org and click on the “summer learning” link to get started. “We are very fortunate to have community partners that are willing to support children across the county in exciting ways to encourage reading,” Hager said. “It is so critical that students maintain their current reading level by reading over the summer.”