Tomorrow is National Summer Learning Day, so break out the sunscreen and some engaging educational activities that will help stop the “summer slide” of learning losses that some children experience during the warm, out-of-school months.
An annual day of national advocacy, National Summer Learning Day is led by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), which seeks “to elevate the importance of keeping kids learning, safe and healthy every summer,” according to the association’s website.
“Research shows that summers without quality learning opportunities put our nation’s youth at risk for falling behind – year after year – in core subjects like math and reading. The math and reading skills low-income students lose each summer are cumulative and contribute significantly to the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income kids,” the website adds.
That’s why this year, “NSLA is asking everyone — programs, families, schools, educators, policymakers, businesses — to make summer a season of learning by pledging to #KeepKidsLearning on our interactive map.”
Resources and tip sheets are available online, where there are also links to research and information about program quality.
Joining the NSLA as a partner is the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, which is “providing resources, technical assistance, and tools to support communities in their work to ensure all low-income children can read proficiently by the end of third grade.”
This isn’t your grandfather’s version of summer learning, the campaign says in this brief, explaining:
“Transcending the punitive and remedial model of summer school, summer learning’s new form is a blend of core academic learning, hands-on activities, arts, sports, technology, and meaningful relationships.”
What, specifically, helps? The campaign’s recommendations include:
• Changing the “focus from narrow remediation and test preparation to one that blends academic learning in core subjects, hands-on activities, technology, and enrichment.”
• Offering “innovative professional development for educators and youth development leaders.”
• Engaging in “rigorous evaluation of implementation and impact to strengthen the evidence base for ‘what works,’” and
• Moving “summer programs from the periphery to the core of school reform strategies through better planning, infrastructure, data collection, and accountability.”
Pittsfield is one of the communities hosting National Summer Learning Day events. The city’s 3rd Annual National Summer Learning Day/Day of Action will be held at 3 p.m. on the Pittsfield Common for children in grades K to 5. (Later this summer, we’ll profile several more communities in Massachusetts and their summer learning strategies.)
In Connecticut, the day will “serve as the launch of our summer reading initiative throughout Hartford and New Britain,” according to the interactive map information.
And in Portland, children will join “special guests in taking the Portland Pledge for Summer Success and learning about all the resources in their community library, Boys and Girls Club, Community Center Summer Meal Site, as well as on line and throughout the city…”
So join the summertime learning fun. As the National Summer Learning Association says on its Facebook page, “It’s time we leveled the playing field. Stop #SummerLearning Loss.”