Summer Learning Loss

June 30, 2016 | United Way Team

Summer is here, and students are already planning their adventures: camps to reunite with friends, pool trips and picnics outside, and family vacations to both near and far. Whether they know it or not, these activities also teach students new things about their world while reinforcing math, science, and literacy skills.

Unfortunately, not all students can look forward to the same opportunities. For some, summer doesn’t mean trips to the pool; summer means missing out. Some have to watch their younger siblings while their parents are working, or can’t attend camp because their parents can’t take off work to drive them.

According to the National Summer Learning Association, most students lose about two months of math computation skills during summer break. Low-income students lose more than two months in reading achievement — even though higher-income peers may make slight gains. This gap lasts throughout the years, and even with great teachers in great schools, students who don't have access to quality summer opportunities fall far behind their peers by the time they enter middle school.

This summer, United Way teams up with local partners to help prevent this education gap:

  • Through the Youth Achievement AmeriCorps program, nearly 30 AmeriCorps members will spend 300 hours each helping students build their reading and math skills. AmeriCorps members will make sure kids have a summer that’s both exciting and educational.
  • Reading into Success, the local name for our Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, brings together schools, nonprofits, foundations, libraries, and other entities to support all of our students. The program collected more than 1,400 donated books to give out during Kids Fest on May 7 at Cedar Rapids Public Library.

If you have children, engage them to read or participate in free activities. Libraries in Cedar Rapids, Marion, and Hiawatha have a variety of fun and free events during the summer. Volunteer at a local event for low-income children or donate books or funds to summer programs can. Above all, share information with your friends, coworkers, and family to help everyone engage in building a strong summer experience.