Local libraries help prevent kids’ summer learning loss
The time to get your kids back in the swing of school is now. A lack of routine and engaging their minds can result in summer learning loss.
It’s more dramatic than you might realize. The National Summer Learning Association says every summer, low-income youth lose two to three months in reading skills. Most young children lose about two months of math skills in the summer. The association reports those reading and math losses add up. By fifth grade, summer learning loss can leave low-income students two and a half to three years behind their peers.
It’s almost July, but you can still join most summer reading programs at your local library.
McCracken County Youth Service Librarian Pam Whelan says anything engaging a child’s mind prepares them for the school year.
“If they’re reading 20 minutes a day and staying on top of it, you know, that’s a month’s work of relearning that they don’t have to do,” Whelan said.
Providing access to books isn’t enough. One study found kids whose parents read to them and provide help and understanding performed better in test scores come fall than those who didn’t get that help.
“Reading aloud is fabulous. It’s very helpful to children when they hear the words, they see the words, the parents are with them, and they can correct them with their vocabulary,” Whelan said.
The McCracken County Public Library’s summer reading program focuses on encouraging kids to be strong physically and mentally. Eight-year-old Keaton Wolfrom has read more than 12 books in the library’s summer reading program.
“My favorite is Ant Man, because I like superheroes and villains. I like reading books that have mysteries in them,” Keaton said.
Keaton’s mom, Lauren, believes reading is a good bonding activity for parents. “It also keeps them involved in what’s going on with her kids,” Lauren said.
“They say cooking with your child will help them as well, because that integrates math. You’re picking a recipe, reading a recipe,” Whelan said.
You can also try gardening with your child.
Those options can prevent the summer slide and give your child a jump-start for next year.
We’ve included a list of summer reading programs at some libraries in western Kentucky bellow this story. If you don’t see your local library there, just call them and ask what programs they offer.