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Parents Encouraged to Plan Activities That Help Prevent Children's "Summer Reading Loss"

May 10, 2012

To help California parents prevent their children from falling prey to “summer learning loss” during the summer vacation months, the statewide “Summer Matters” Campaign has released two Summer Learning Checklists to assist parents in avoiding summer learning loss and supporting their children’s education over summer break.

A vast body of research shows that when children are not engaged in summer learning and enrichment activities they suffer “summer learning loss” – a loss in academic skills and knowledge during the summer months that can set them back academically when the school year begins.

The Summer Learning Checklists – “Top Five Ways to Prevent Summer Learning Loss & Support Your Child's Summertime Learning” and “Top Ten Ways to Know if Your Child is in a Great Summer Learning Program” – are available to download at http://summermatters2you.net/news.

“Parents are the first line of defense when it comes to preventing summer learning loss and supporting their children’s education when school is out, said Jennifer Peck, Executive Director of the nonprofit Partnership for Children and Youth that is spearheading the Summer Matters Campaign. “Fortunately, there are plenty of free and easy ways to engage children in enriching summer learning activities that will help them start the new school year successfully.”

Summer learning loss, which is cumulative over time, contributes directly to a widening of the achievement gap between low-income and middle-income students, and a lack of summer learning opportunities also contributes to increased student drop-out rates.

Children from low-income families lose more than two months in reading achievement levels when they aren’t engaged in summer learning and low-income children may be nearly three grade equivalents behind their more affluent peers in reading by the end of the fifth grade as a result of summer learning loss.

Unequal summer learning opportunities during elementary school years are responsible for about two-thirds of the ninth-grade achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth. As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college.

Children from low-income households who lack access to summer learning programs also disproportionately gain weight in summer because they lack access to the recreational programs and meal programs available during the school year and spend more time watching TV and being sedentary, thus increasing their risk of childhood obesity.

Source:  Summer Matters Campaign