Reading Eagle | Jeremy Long | July 7, 2018

Kayla Welsh sat in the shade outside Reading’s 3rd and Spruce Recreation Center reading to a group of kids sprawled out on a picnic blanket.

Inside the center, some students were writing their own superhero stories while another group prepared to debate cellphone use in school. It was all part of a program called Teachers in the Parks designed to battle the “summer slide,” or the tendency for students to lose some academic achievement over summer break.

“We’re so excited to be in the City of Reading,” said Matt Hathaway, who started the program in Exeter Township 15 years ago. “The research is pretty clear that the summer slide hits children in poverty the most.”

Welsh, who teaches fifth grade at Amanda Stout Elementary, wanted to be a part of a fun program that helps kids learn over the summer.

“Children don’t want to go to summer school,” she said. “Teachers don’t want to be in summer school. With this program, you get to be where you play every day and we get to have fun.”

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