As parents across the United States finish back-to-school shopping and children return to classes, Omera Productions, LLP packed boxes full of prizes for participants of their first 2019 Summer Reading Challenge.
The Muslim production company hosted the five-week program (open to Muslim and non-Muslim children) to promote literacy during the summer months, a time of the year when many children lose some academic skillsets.
According to the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), “It is widely understood that on average students lose academic ground during the summer, a phenomenon frequently referred to as ‘summer learning loss’ or ‘summer slide.’
Omera Production co-founder, Robyn Abdusamad told AboutIslam their motivations at the beginning of the program. As educators and parents, we realize the importance of children continuing to read over the summer.”
The company publishes books centering Black Muslim children, including Zaynab’s Enchanted Scarf, which highlights historical contributions of Black Muslims, Wahid, and His Special Friend, and You Are Beautiful—a story about two sisters’ first experience with intolerance.
Abdusamad outlined a few academic benefits for participation in the 2019 Summer Reading Challenge.
“It helped to improve or maintain [participants’] reading skills. [Reading during the summer helped] build their knowledge in a vast amount of subject areas, including English, math, history, and science. The challenge increased their desire to read, which could become a lifelong habit.”
According to study.com, readers are better learners. “Lifelong readers don’t stop learning when they graduate from high school, or when they earn that college degree. Lifelong readers are constantly learning new things with each turn of the page.”
Keep the brain active;
Promote better sleep;
Increase access to education;
Expand vocabulary, and
Improve concentration. [source: Campbell County Community Library]
Summer reading programs afford parents a way to minimize learning loss over summer break and children opportunities to maintain and improve skills like comprehension and memory and develop their interest in learning through reading.
Abdusamad told AboutIslam that they find the reading program’s results satisfying.
“The overall success of the challenge was good. While our expected goal was to have 20 participants, we met half our goal, which is pretty good for the first time.”
Contents of the prize boxes mailed to participants focused on literacy and back-to-school supplies.
“We provided some of our published books, lanyards, bookmarks and water bottles, which has positive affirmations printed on them.”
Participants received copies of the company’s book, Zakiyyah’s Talking Flower Garden that they released this summer. The main character, Zakiyyah cares for a talking garden. The story teaches about African history.
AboutIslam asked Abdusamad if Omera Production planned another summer reading challenge or may host other challenges during holiday recess or spring break.
“Yes, as long as we have willing participants, it is our desire to keep the reading challenge going during school and summer breaks.”