While many students are planning out their summer vacations, some area educators are trying to keep their students from forgetting what they've learned during the school year.
Teachers at Hastings Senior High are sending some students home with backpacks full of books, and not only are the students OK with the summer reading, they actually requested it.
Nikki Gegenbach, a Reading Specialist at Hastings Senior High, spent the last Monday of the school year explaining the Backpack Reading Program to students.
The voluntary program focuses on helping students continue their education outside of the classroom.
"Studies show that students who don't read over Summer, regress three months of whatever they learned during the school year," said Gegenbach,"so by the time a kid is a Senior, if they haven't read every Summer, they're an entire year behind the kids that have read."
According to Gegenbach, falling behind in reading can affect a student in multiple areas.
"That's pretty difficult when you're going into A.C.T. season or S.A.T. season, and you're trying
to get those standardized test scores up so you can get some scholarships."
The program started last year, when Gegenbach and her colleagues realized students were falling behind.
"We started getting book donations, monetary donations, the National Guard donated book bags last year and this year."
Experts say when students walk into a library to pick out a book, it can be a little daunting.
With the Summer Reading Program, students are given books by an author they like, or a genre they're already interested in.
"The backpacks are just a great way to match a students interest with their ability," said Gegenbach,"and then they see that they like to read.
"Wen they come back in the Fall, they're more apt to come into the Library and ask for help in selecting books."
Not only does reading over the Summer help students, Gegenbach thinks parents can learn a thing or two themselves.
"If you see your student with a book that interests you, go to your Public Library and check
out a copy so you can read it along with them this Summer.
"It's a great opportunity for communication with your teen as well."