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OMAK – Librarian Vicky O’Dell is trying to provide four or five new or gently used books for each student at East Omak Elementary School.

Her goal is to avoid the “summer slide,” a decline in reading skills over the summer.

She maintains that reading just four to five books over the summer can prevent that slide. Having access to reading material reinforces good reading habits and brings students back to school in the fall ready to go from where they left off.

They also have a more positive attitude toward reading, are more confident in the classroom and will perceive reading as important, she said.

Students who live close enough to walk to the public library must rely on adults to take them, and it is harder for them to participate in the summer reading program at the public library, she said. It is reported that 80 percent of the discrepancy in reading success between economically advantaged students and economically disadvantaged ones is attributed to not reading in the summer.

Ideally, O’Dell said she would like to give every student a “reading pack” consisting of books, a bookmark, reading bracelet and a bag.

During the first week of June, students will be able to pick out their own free books during their library class to take home before the summer begins.

By mid-April, she had raised $3,000 from the Omak-Okanogan Civic League and Evergreen Home Loans, while non-profit book provider Chapter 2 Chapter also promised books. Bookmarks and bracelets also are in place.

She has a goal of raising another $1,000-$2,000 to make sure every student gets four or five books, and possibly a book bag.

More information is available from O’Dell at East, 509-826-3003.

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