This program is designed to help families bridge the summer learning gap by providing parents, other family members, churches, businesses, organizations, and concerned individuals with the information they need to empower them to act. By calling attention to the specific problem and providing the highly achievable goal of reading 6 books over the summer to solve that problem, our community will be equipped to help our kids achieve their highest potential. By educating the public about existing summer programs that help children practice reading, we will direct people to additional support. Finally, we will provide children in the Danville, Pittsylvania, and Caswell county areas with books for children to read and enjoy during their time off from school.
Why 6 Book Summer?
The term summer slide isn’t new. It refers to the learning loss that takes place during the summer when students are not in school. While research shows that it occurs at all socioeconomic levels, for children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, the loss is more severe.
During the school year, access to learning resources are wide open. Children are able to visit school libraries, and in many school systems, have one-to-one computer access that allows for access to online reading as well. As a result, students from all backgrounds make gains at roughly the same rate (National Summer Learning Association). However, when summer arrives and the resources at school are no longer available, statistics show that elementary grade students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds may suffer as much as a three-month achievement gap each year compared to children from middle-income families (Mraz, Rasinski, 2007).
Over time, this adds up. Research conducted at Johns Hopkins University shows that roughly two-thirds of ninth-grade learning gaps between disadvantaged youth and their more advantaged classmates can be attributed to what happens during the summers of their elementary school years (NSLA). As gaps increase at the high school level, the chances for student graduation decrease. According to JHU sociology professor Karl Alexander, “We found that summer learning loss accounts for about two-thirds of the difference in the likelihood of pursuing a college preparatory path in high school (NSLA).”