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Reading Programs Combat Summer Learning Loss

By Daniel Cherry | Published 01 Jun 2012 06:16pm | comments

When a child doesn't read over their summer break, they can lose up to three months of academic progress. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports, education officials hope to keep students up to par with summer reading programs.

 

At the Eudora Welty Library in Jackson, 3rd grader Jenea Owens is checking out books to read over the summer.

Reporter: "What book do you have?"

Owens: "The Lorax."

Reporter: "Is that on your summer reading list?"

Owens: "No."

Reporter: "You just want to read it?"

Owens: "Yes."

Reporter: "Why do you want to read that one?"

Owens: "Because the movie is funny."

Educators say children who don't read over the summer risk losing several months of progress. Rhoda Byler Yoder is Curriculum Director for Jackson Public Schools. She says it's called summer learning loss.

"We say goodbye to them in May, and they have their May levels of learning. When they come back to us in August, they're not at August levels. They're not even at May levels if they have done nothing at all over the summer."

As most children's summer breaks are in full swing, many summer reading programs are kicking off around Mississippi this week.

"We're trying to turn this into a place that makes children dream big and want to read", says Ruth Davis, Eudora Welty Library, Youth Services Coordinator.

Back at the Eudora Welty Library, Davis is setting up scenes with Frankenstein's monster and starry skies.

Davis says the key to getting children to read is remembering there's a book for everyone.

"We hand them a fiction book and we say, 'This is required reading. You have to read it.' And they don't like it so they don't think that there's fun in books. They might like big trucks. They might like graphic books."

Some researchers estimate Summer Learning Loss is responsible for 50 to 70 percent of the academic achievement gap for children living in poverty.

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