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Thursday, July 17, 2014 12:01 am

READERS ARE LEADERS

 For kids, summer is a time for outdoor adventures, sleeping in and even part-time jobs. But when they get back to school, many kids exhibit what’s known in academic circles as the “summer slide,” a decline in classroom learning skills attributed to a prolonged lack of educational activities. The National Summer Learning Association estimates that too much mental relaxation during summer can mean a student essentially forgets 22 percent of the material they just learned, meaning teachers have to start the next school year reteaching previous material. Springfield Public Schools’ “Read 5 & Beyond” program encourages kids to stay sharp over the summer by reading and logging their progress, and one Springfield teacher has created an elegant contribution to that effort. Mark Butler, who teaches fifth grade at Enos Elementary in Springfield, designed a smartphone application called You-log, which allows kids to log their reading on an iPhone, offering a digital alternative to the unwieldy paper log sheet. The app allows users to scan a book’s barcode, search for it in a list or record it manually. Although no Android version is available yet, Butler is looking for developers to create one, as well as investors to help fund further development. For more information on Butler’s app, check out www.you-log.com.

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