DEAR children: read this summer

Published 9:51 pm Monday, July 3, 2017

A Suffolk native will once again provide a summer reading program for children in the community.

The Drop Everything and Read program will be held at Macedonia AME Church on Pine Street. The free D.E.A.R. classes will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to noon, with a kick-off on July 11.

Teacher and reading specialist Lloyd Askew started holding summer reading workshops in his hometown back in 2013 at his Suffolk residence. He has a master’s degree in reading literacy from Meredith College and more than 20 years of experience teaching in North Carolina public schools.

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“It’s to give kids the opportunity to read over the summer, so they don’t lose everything they’ve gained in terms of reading proficiency,” Askew said.

Children from kindergarten to fifth grade levels will be taught reading strategies according to their assessed reading levels. Askew will guide the children in these reading exercises with the help of volunteers, and educators from Suffolk and Chesapeake public schools will provide aid throughout the summer.

Each child will choose from Askew’s personal collection of more than 300 books from various genres and suited for their individual reading levels.

“They have to practice, because the ultimate goal is to get them to read independently,” he said. “It helps them to become lifelong learners.”

The final class on Aug. 17 will be a cookout to celebrate the young readers. Children will enjoy their meals and receive participation certificates for completing the program.

Askew’s last reading workshop in 2014 had more than 20 children each session, many of whom from families that would not have had the means to enroll in such a program otherwise. He hopes for a similar impact this year.

“They need to know that reading is important,” he said. “It determines how far they’re going to go in life.”

Call 919-332-5828 for more information.