Queens assemblywoman encourages summer reading challenge to curb ‘summer slide’

Jenifer Rajkumar
Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar encourages summer reading challenge for kids in Queens. (Photo courtesy of Rajkumar’s office)
Photo Courtesy of Rajkumar’s office

Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar invites Queens children to join the Assembly’s annual Summer Reading Challenge, a partnership between the Assembly and New York State Libraries.

The Summer Reading Challenge aims to counteract the “summer slide,” a phenomenon where kids’ reading proficiency regresses over the summer months. After over a year of students isolating at home and distance learning, Rajkumar said this program is more important than ever.

“Reading is fundamental to our young people’s education and success in life,” Rajkumar said. “It opens the door to opportunities and transports us to myriad worlds of experiences. Summer break is the time to make sure children read all year long — and all life long.”

Children must read a book for a minimum of 15 minutes a day for at least 40 days during July and August to complete the challenge. Participants will receive a calendar from Rajkumar and mark off days where they read.

Upon completing the challenge, kids can send the calendar back to Rajkumar’s office. Then, she will award each child the Assembly Excellence in Reading certificate.

Maribell Perev-McDaniel, co-president of District 27 President’s Council, has two daughters participating in this year’s reading challenge. Her two daughters, one in fourth grade and the other a senior in high school, will be encouraged to find books that pique their interest.

“Reading is always great, and especially now with everything that’s happened over the last year and a half there have been a lot of challenges emotionally and academically,” Perev-McDaniels said. “I thought it would be a great time to remember, while we want to have fun playing outside this summer, reading is fun and two, it’s important to keep our brains going.”

Perev-McDaniels will also be participating in the reading challenge.

“As a parent, we have to lead by example,” she said. “The challenge is geared towards children, but I feel like if my kids see me participating as well, it will encourage them to do the same and it won’t feel as much of a chore.”

Those in need of books are encouraged to visit their local Queens Public Library branch. There, they can check out one or more books at a time. To find the nearest branch, visit QueensLibrary.org.

“I want the children of the 38th Assembly District to unleash their full potential,” Rajkumar said. “I invite every young person in my district to take the challenge. Together we can show everyone that, when it comes to reading, the 38th Assembly District is unrivaled. I look forward to receiving a mountain of completed calendars in the mail.”

Rajkumar, who represents Woodhaven, Ridgewood, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Glendale, will participate in the challenge herself as well.

“I will be taking the challenge along with you and posting about the books I read,” Rajkumar said. “I am starting with ‘Evicted’ by Matthew Desmond, a Pulitzer Prize-winning book on poverty in American cities.”

Perev-McDaniels said she is so grateful that her assemblywoman is encouraging this program for kids in her district.

“I haven’t seen so much activism in our district in quite some time,” Perve-McDaniels said. “This is very refreshing.”

For more information about the Summer Reading Challenge, individuals can contact Rajumar’s office at rajkumarj@nyassembly.gov or 718-805-0950.