NEW YORK, Aug. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Kids from countries around the world and all 50 states have been reading at a feverish pace and as a result have officially broken the summer reading world record, logging more than 70 million reading minutes to date with 3 more weeks left to go. The record set in summer 2011 was 64,213,141 minutes. This is all part of the sixth annual Scholastic Summer Challenge, a free program designed to keep kids reading and having fun while preventing the "summer slide" - a loss of academic skills when students are not in school.
"We're so impressed by all the readers who participated in the Scholastic Summer Challenge and contributed to breaking the world record, topping last year's achievement in such a short period of time," said Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer, Scholastic. "Summer reading is crucial to students' academic development as it prepares them for the school year ahead by keeping their reading skills sharp. These students should feel like true champions."
Kids can still read for the world record as part of the Scholastic Summer Challenge throughout the month of August. By logging their minutes, kids earn virtual rewards, enter sweepstakes, and contribute toward their school's total number of minutes. At the end of the summer, the top 20 schools with the most reading minutes will be featured in the 2013 edition of the Scholastic Book of World Records.
Research reveals that children who read four or more books over the summer fare better at reading comprehension in the fall. Plus, Richard Allington, Professor of Education at the University of Tennessee, who has done extensive research on the summer slide, has found that access to books during the summer limits a child's reading setbacks and results in higher reading achievement.
To further the message about the importance of summer reading in the U.S. and increase access to books within their communities, 48 Governors' Spouses and 3 Governors joined the Scholastic Summer Challenge as Reading Ambassadors. On behalf of their participation, Scholastic donated 500 books to the Reading Ambassadors' school of choice (for a total of 25,500 books) so that students in their state could take home books and read over summer vacation.