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Barrett Elementary Starts Program to Promote Summer Reading

Parents and teachers at Barrett Elementary have started a weekly outdoor library to encourage kids to keep reading during their vacation.

The program, Barret Book Blast, was created by the Family and Community Engagement committee at Barrett Elementary as a way to combat the seemingly inevitable “summer slide” in reading comprehension.

The outdoor library can be found every Friday from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. outside of the Gates of Ballston Community Center (4108 4th Street N.). At the weekly event, which is run by Barrett Elementary teachers on an entirely volunteer basis, neighborhood kids can check out up to three books or listen to a librarian from Arlington Public Library read some stories.

Barrett Elementary teacher Emily Sonenshine estimates that on June 19, the program’s second week, almost 65 children came by to check out books and visit their teachers. Sonenshine added that attendance at the weekly checkout hour has been consistently on the rise.

This Friday will mark the program’s fourth week. Sonenshine says the events are scheduled to continue through the summer, ending Aug. 28.

The books for the outdoor library were supplied by donations from Books for America and Donors Choose, as well as neighborhood donations.

Photos courtesy Emily Sonenshine and Jen Flores

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