Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program to Boost Children’s Reading Skills

Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program to Boost Children’s Reading Skills
Summer slide may sound like an exciting summer activity, but in reality it is no fun at all. The term refers to the learning loss many children experience over the summer. The summer learning loss phenomenon is especially harmful to children who end the school year behind their classmates—pushing them even farther behind their peers. Repeat this year after year, and you see major consequences. In fact, a recent study shows that one in six children who do not read proficiently by third grade fail to graduate high school on time—four times the rate for children with proficient third-grade reading skills.
The Y wants children to experience their best summer ever, so to combat summer slide, the YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South will expand a learning loss prevention program for children entering second and third grade who are most at risk of falling behind in their reading skills over the summer. The Summer Learning Loss Prevention program, a national initiative with the Y, supports cognitive, physical and social-emotional growth while focusing on helping children read at grade level by the third grade. This summer, in partnership with Sherwood Elementary School and Shelby County Schools, the Y will expand to serve nearly 50 students.
“The summer is a time for play, but it’s also important that children stay engaged and continue to learn even when they’re not in school,” said Keith Johnson, CEO, YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South. “The Y’s Summer Learning Loss Prevention program ensures children stay on track and start the school year strong, rather than playing catch up.”
The Y-CAP Branch YMCA worked with teachers and principals in the community to identify students who would benefit the most from the program and it is offered at no cost to families. The program is held four days a week for six weeks in the summer. Mornings will be dedicated to literacy work, while afternoons are filled with enrichment activities that include art, music, science and physical activity. Children will be provided breakfast, lunch, and a snack in the afternoon. In addition, there will be parent workshops designed to encourage reading at home.
Nationally, the Y worked with over 3,300 children who participated in the Summer Learning Loss Prevention program last summer. Initial results show strong gains in reading skills for all participants helping the students get on track for their grade level. In addition to this:
• Nearly all parents/caregivers (97 percent) reported that their child was “more excited to learn” and 94 percent reported their child showed “increased self-confidence.”
• 96 percent families believed the program would help their child do better in school;
• 95 percent reported that the program helped their family read more books; and
• 94 percent said it helped them get more engaged in their child’s education.
The Y is committed to nurturing the potential of every child and teen and is addressing the academic achievement gap through pilot programs focused on afterschool, early learning readiness, STEM and summer learning loss prevention. The programs, which are underway in nearly 46 states across the country, are designed to not only increase success in school, but to also foster social-emotional development and physical health and well-being. As part of the Y’s national scaling efforts to address the achievement gap, the Summer Learning Loss Prevention program is now offered in 32 states.

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