Good question, right? Whether you are stocking up on good beach reads or looking to catch up on new fiction (or history or biography), chances are you have a list going. Keep that thought in mind on July 13th when we celebrate National Summer Reading Day.
Sponsored by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), the only national nonprofit focused on closing the achievement gap by increasing summer learning opportunities for all youth, National Summer Reading Day focuses attention on a real, but largely hidden, social issue in the U.S. – the drop-off in reading skills for low-income kids during their “summer vacation.”
The need for the campaign is summed up in a single statistic provided by NSLA: Low-income students lose an average of more than two months in reading achievement in the summer, while their middle-income peers tend to make gains in reading.
What can you do? NSLA offers five different ways you can get involved as an individual.
Many Junior Leagues are making a difference with their own programs. For example, the Junior League of Tyler provides third graders with a summer camp experience grounded in reading as well as art and writing. The Junior League of Huntsville’s summer learning program works with struggling students in grades 3-5 who need extra help in math and reading. The Junior League of Birmingham’s summer learning project provides college prep for high school students. The Junior League of Charlottesville involves girls from preschool to grade 8 in a summer celebration of reading. The Junior League of Nashville engages young readers through literacy workshops, imagination stations, character meet-and-greets, and readings.
Another great resource for information on summer learning loss is the Campaign for Grade Level Learning, a collaborative effort by foundations, nonprofit partners and others, including communities across the nation, to ensure that more children in low-income families are prepared to succeed in school and life, by focusing on grade-level reading by the end of the third grade – a recognized predictor of academic success and high school graduation.
But however you get involved, it’s a good cause.