Libraries help prevent the ‘Summer Slide’

While the Summer Slide may sound like a ride at one of our local amusement parks, it refers to the loss of academic skills and knowledge while students are out of school for the summer. Researchers have shown that students’ progress in subjects like reading and math can be reduced by one to two months over the summer.

How do you avoid the Summer Slide? By keeping kids engaged in learning over the summer. How do you do that? By going to your local library.

In 2015, the state of Virginia published a major study about the value of library summer reading programs. Students who participated did not lose any ground, and they even learned some new things over the summer.

Each of the eight libraries in Blair County offer summer learning programs with activities and prizes for reading books and/or other learning-oriented activities. Because libraries are often open on evenings and weekends, these programs are available to a wider range of kids.

You will notice that I am not calling it summer reading but summer learning. This is because, while the libraries still encourage reading, all types of learning activities are rewarded. In Bellwood, they are hatching chickens; in Roaring Spring, they are building robots. Last year, my husband and son attended a workshop at Hollidaysburg Area Public Library where they got to use solar-powered devices and see how they work.

For families who cannot get to the library, libraries also offer a range of online activities. Check out our ebooks and the scholastic activities on Power Library for Kids.

To get more information, go to blog.ed.gov/2014/03/stopping-the-summer-slide/ or www.lva.virginia.gov/lib-edu/ LDND/srp-impact/.

Katie Greenleaf Martin

Blair County Library System coordinator

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