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Jonathan and young Caleb Felder take part in opening day ceremonies at the Half Moon Bay Library in 2018. Nearly a year later, the library is working to keep kids learning through the summer. Kyle Ludowitz / Review

School gets out in June, but that doesn’t mean that learning has to stop over the summer. 

“If you just let it go over the summer, it really sets you back,” said Karen Choy, youth services librarian at the Half Moon Bay Library. “We are trying to get kids to keep reading throughout the summer, making it easier to slide back into school.”

The Northwest Evaluation Association is a nonprofit that develops assessment tools for children. According to its 2015 study, students between third and eighth grade experience a demonstrable loss in learning over the summer in both math and reading. The study found that in the summer after seventh grade, students lose an average of 36 percent of their school-year gains in reading and 50 percent of their school-year gains in math. 

Kids of all ages can combat this summer slide by participating in the Half Moon Bay Library’s Summer Learning Challenge. Kids and parents can pick up the form at the library or participate online at summerlearners.org, where they can track their reading all summer long. The program runs through Aug. 30 and is full of opportunities for discovery and prizes.

Over recent years, the library has rebranded its program as the “Summer Learning Challenge” to acknowledge other forms of learning.

“We want people to be active and learn by doing things as well as just book learning,” said Choy.

Along with reading, children mark off new activities like dancing, painting, exploring a new park, or attending a library program. The library has a full calendar of activities to keep kids learning and having fun this summer, including a magic show, Egyptian crafts, movie special effects and African drumming.

Once kids log 12 hours of reading and six new activities, they can turn their form into the library or online, where they will be entered in weekly drawings for prizes that include San Francisco Giants tickets, museum passes and more. In September, each library will draw a winner for the grand prize — a $1,000 college scholarship.

Choy said that kids can participate as many times as they want over the summer. 

And the program is not just limited to children. Parents and other adults can participate as well.

“We are asking people of all ages to get involved,” she said. “Babies can be read to, and even adults can participate. When kids see their parents reading, it shows that reading is a priority.”

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