Summer is quickly approaching, and youth are winding down their school year over the next few weeks. Here at ICAN, we are excited to welcome our youth to the center for full-day sessions, giving us more time to spend with them and offer a variety of learning and recreational options. Summer Learning Loss is a common phrase heard this time of year. Studies have shown that students can loose up to a quarter of their school-year learning over the summer. This gap is even greater for youth living in poverty. These youth have less resources to attend summer camps and less encouragement at home to continue reading and learning. A 2007 study claimed that summer learning loss could account for up to two-thirds of the “achievement gap” between rich and poor children by the age of 14. By the end of fifth grade, low income students are typically more than two years behind their middle-class peers.
The youth who attend ICAN are very fortunate. We partner each year with the Valley of the Sun United Way on their Summer Learning Collaborative. We have a literacy coach from VSUW come to ICAN and work directly with youth on reading and literacy skills throughout the summer intersession. ICAN is also blessed with a group of volunteers who are retired teachers with a wealth of knowledge. These dedicated volunteers work with our youth throughout the year, including the summer, to develop their literacy skills. ICAN youth will also enjoy weekly STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) activities throughout the summer, which will keep them engaged and exploring. ICAN also has some incredible partners for field trips over the summer, including the DPR School of Construction, Chandler Schools Pizza Camp and (need one more here).
Summer Learning Loss can be an issue for all youth, regardless of economic background. Keeping youth engaged and learning throughout the summer can give them a big advantage going into the next school year. Here are some tips and ideas to prevent Summer Learning Loss in your home:
• Encourage your child to read 20 minutes a day during the summer months – let them read something of their choice that they will really enjoy, even magazines and comic books can be a great option.
• Puzzles, board games, and card games are great ways to boost problem solving skills. Plan a weekly family game night to keep it consistent.
• Build arts and crafts together with your child
• Technology! Though it drives many parents crazy, technology can be a great tool to keep kids engaged over the summer. Apps like Math Champ, Opposite Ocean and Brain Quest can allow kids to be on their devices but continue to learn while they are there.
CEO – ICAN: Positive Programs for Youth