Teaming cricket and reading to beat the summer slump

Issue: Volume 98, Number 20

Posted: 21 November 2019
Reference #: 1HA30s

A brand new initiative hopes to beat the learning slump this summer with two favourite Kiwi pastimes: cricket and reading.

Read NZ Te Pou Muramura (formerly NZ Book Council) has joined forces with New Zealand Cricket’s T20 summer tournament to get kids reading more over the holidays.

Students are invited to register for free and choose their local cricket team to ‘play’ for through the Super Smash Reading Challenge, a new interactive website. 

Players log the books they read over the summer and give them a star-rating and short review. A leader board keeps track of the Super Smash teams as they move up and down the rankings accordingly.

Healthy competition

Launched in October, the Super Smash Reading Challenge is already off to a good start, with healthy competition between teams, but the hope is that summer holiday reading will boost the score for all teams. The Challenge will run until the final T20 cricket game on 19 January. 

Read NZ Te Pou Muramura chief executive Jo Cribb says the reading challenge is a fun way to address the well-documented ‘summer slide’ in learning over the holidays.

“We know primary-aged students can lose academic progress over the summer break, but reading is a great way to keep young minds active,” she says.

Local and international research into students’ learning progress over the long summer break has shown the loss can be significant. 

Students who don’t read much over the summer holidays can lose gains they made in their reading levels and fluency over the previous year. This is true for all children, but especially for already struggling readers. 

A 2015 NZCER study ‘Solving summer slide: Strategies and suggestions’ investigated summer learning loss on achievement and found that encouraging students to read self-selected books over the break helped stem the summer slide. 

Read NZ Te Pou Muramura wants everyone in Aotearoa to read for enjoyment. Based on early feedback, they’re cautiously optimistic the initiative is making a difference already.

Brett Pickford says his son Daniel has a strong competitive streak and has been reading for his team with determination.

“My reluctant reader is now getting home to read a book. Being the competitive kid he is, he is now fully focused on reading as much as possible. Note the laptop for immediate logging of the book!”

Read the 2015 NZCER study ‘Solving summer slide: Strategies and suggestions’. Search the title on link).


Kowhai’s feedback

Kowhai Herangi, 7, is a reader from Newtown School playing for Wellington Blaze.

What do you read? 

I like reading comics and chapter books with pictures. Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Do you have a favourite author?

Dav Pilkey. I like him because he does Dogman, Captain Underpants and Super Diaper Baby.

What would you like to read over the summer?

I’m thinking about maybe the seventh Dogman, and maybe some more of Captain Underpants.

What do you like about the Reading Challenge?

I like that you can get prizes and I’m going to give my dad one of the cricket vouchers if I win one. 

Get the word out to parents and whānau

Sign up for the Super Smash Reading Challenge: 

The site also includes links to a parents’ section with tips for encouraging reading at home, and other resources.

Paper Plus gift cards are up for grabs every day of the T20 tournament, and there are other spot prizes on offer, including signed sports gear.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 2:01 pm, 21 November 2019

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