Like clockwork, it happens every summer.

With several months out of school, students’ academic skills can slip, leaving them a bit further behind in their learning than they were just weeks earlier – the dreaded “summer slide.”

At River Bluff Middle School, staff and students are teaming up to help defeat that annual annoyance with their book club, now in its second year. Students read selected books on their own, and meet several times during the summer to hold group discussions. The group will hold a celebration at the end of the summer.

Around 125 students are involved this year, said book club co-coordinator Jessica Fetting, with a goal to “encourage reading” for students entering grades 6-9.

“(They) will lose the months of reading skills, and that loss is cumulative,” she told the Observer in an email. “Reading is important for all kids, but it is very important for our middle school students because we are preparing them for high school and to be college and career ready.:”

So far, fantasy and science fiction books are the most popular genres with students, Fetting said, with “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” and the “Hunger Games” series among the most popular books.

Contact Scott De Laruelle at scott.delaruelle@wcinet.com.