JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Local groups are working together to help kids avoid the “summer slide.”
Kids Hope Alliance and the Jacksonville Library are encouraging kids to read this summer to boost literacy rates before the next school year.
They believe they found a creative way to do that.
More than 5,000 students in Duval County, who are participating in summer programs and organizations, are reading a book called “The Supadupa Kid” over the next four weeks.
Ty Allan Jackson is the author. He considers it a classic good vs. evil superhero story.
“Having a character that represents these kids, that looks like, that speaks their language and embodies these characteristics [was the purpose],” said Jackson, who wrote the book 10 years ago. “I think it’s just fun.”
Jackson wants the kids to walk away with characteristics of a superhero like honor, integrity and goodwill. However, the western Massachusetts native also hopes kids develop a desire to add reading to their daily routines.
“I want kids to enjoy music, enjoy video games, enjoy movies, YouTube and social media,” Jackson said. “But I want them to find that reading is also an important and entertaining part of their entertainment forum.”
According to The Children’s Reading Foundation, a child reading for at least 20 minutes a day over the course of a year can expand their vocabulary and expose them to nearly 2 million words.
Jackson will have a virtual meeting with the kids every Thursday to check their progress.
“If we can instill those characteristics inside of our young people in a fun and creative way, that is just a home run,” Jackson said.
He will be back in town to meet with all the kids in-person at the end of July.
The plan is for all the kids to have their own “mini-book” written at the end of this program.