Summer is a time for relaxation, friends, and laughter. But it’s also a time when kids fall behind in their reading skills. On average, students lose two full months of learning during the summer if they’re not reading regularly. Aim High seeks to counteract this effect, called the Summer Slide, through rigorous academics, and also by hosting the Aim High Summer Reading Challenge, now in its third year. “We want our kids to have positive attitudes towards reading and get in the habit of reading every single day,” says Michelle Capobres, Director of Academics and Program Evaluation. This year’s theme is Read Around the World and for every minute read, students will earn one mile. The collective goal across all 15 sites is for students to read 270,000 minutes – or enough miles to circumnavigate the globe 10 times! It might sound daunting, but it works out to 30 minutes a week per student. Each week, students who read 30 minutes on their own will be entered into a raffle for weekly prizes, including pizza parties, gift cards, and the grand prize – an Amazon Kindle Fire. Those who read 50 minutes or more a week earn more chances to win. In line with the globetrotting theme, students will also receive ‘reading passports’ to inspire reading across mediums and genres ranging from online newspapers to recipes, fiction, fantasy, and even out loud. The combination of consistent practice and variety of texts will improve fluency, build vocabularies, and demonstrate to students how every bit of reading counts. Every Aim High campus has a site library filled with new Young Adult titles, and this year, seventh grade humanities classes will take trips to the library. In addition, Aim High families will receive reading tips to reinforce reading habits at home. Capobres adds, “Simple reminders about how and when to reinforce reading in the home can make a big difference for our students. We see this as a full community effort.” The journey begins this summer.