The "Summer Slide" is real, and bay area educators are fighting the May-June-July drop in smarts like never before.
"Statistics have shown that over the summer, children who are not engaged in reading really do tend to slide in their academics," says Angela Dingle, a media specialist at Anderson Elementary in Tampa.
Hundreds of officials gathered at Amalie Arena on Tuesday for a Summer Reading Summit.
"All it takes is four books -- kids need to read four books over the course of the summer and they'll go back to school prepared to learn," says Julie Cole, an account manager at myON.
Even four books are a tough sell in 2017, when YouTube and iPads and video games -- and you know, summer -- are vying for their attention. But organizations throughout the Tampa Bay region fully believe they can get kids to turn off phones and start turning pages.
ReadonmyON.com, which taps into kids' love of iPhones and tablets and YouTube, will offer area students some 10,000 digital books this summer, including "The Pukey Book of Vomit." Prizes for reading include a behind-the-scenes tour of One Buc Place: ht/hillsborough.myon.com/
In association with every library in the Tampa Bay area, Reading With the Rays challenges kids to read for nine hours total during the summer. If your child can manage that, the Boys of Summer will give them two tickets to a Rays game at Tropicana Field: tampabay.rays.mlb.com/tb/community/reading.jsp
At Barnes & Noble, if your child reads eight books over the summer, the chain will give them a free book, including one from the Captain Underpants series. www.thebalance.com/barnes-and-noble-summer-reading-program-for-kids-135682.