Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99

Op-Eds

News Opinion Op-Eds

Library helps prevent summer learning loss

With summer vacation in full swing, thoughts of warm weather fun, sleeping in and spending time with friends tend to top most kids' to-do lists. For too many youngsters, however, one essential activity is missing: retaining much of what they learned during the previous school year.

While society tends to stress academic achievement from August to June, there is a reality we all must face — that summer months play a crucial role in the continuing education of our youth. Otherwise, much of what they learned during the previous school year gets lost. The impact of this learning loss is likely to be experienced in the short and long term regarding school, and in some instances, life itself. Therefore, support is needed in and outside the classroom both during the academic school year and over the summer.

The Baltimore-based National Summer Learning Association says all students experience learning loss when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. In fact, education experts say students on average lose about two months of grade-level equivalency in mathematical computation skills.

Starting the school year with an academic deficit can put students at a serious disadvantage. That's why the Enoch Pratt Free Library, in partnership with supporters like Verizon, is taking steps to ensure that students in Baltimore stay ahead of the curve again this year with the launch of Enoch Pratt's Summer Reading program.

Summer Reading is an incentive and theme-based reading program offered at all Enoch Pratt locations across Baltimore. Every year, more than 16,000 children and teens register for the reading program, and more than 30,000 participate in the free activities. The goal for registered participants is to read at least one book a week during the eight-week session. Through branch-based activities and performances — some of them featuring musicians and storytellers — the program is designed to help children build a love for reading, promote family reading and help students continue to learn over the summer.

Studies have shown that children who read over the summer are better prepared to continue their education when they return to school in the fall. But it's important to emphasize that reading is also fun. To encourage reading, we must entice students by making reading an intriguing, enjoyable and satisfying choice of options this summer.

The Pratt library and Verizon have a proven history of encouraging students to strengthen their literacy skills by reading more. In fact, during the "Read More, Be More!" campaign, both partners worked with Baltimore City leaders to urge students to get library cards, regularly visit a local Pratt library and read often. During this campaign, a record number of library cards were issued.

Of course, books are not the only means to learn. When competing with summer sun, technology also can be a parent's best friend in helping to keep children learning. Type "summer learning resources" into a search engine and you'll find thousands of options to keep your kids learning and maybe even having a little fun.

One place to check is Verizon Thinkfinity (www.thinkfinity.org), a free website that contains thousands of educational resources, podcasts and educational games, including a special summer learning feature to help parents find such resources as online math games where students can challenge their friends and summer science projects. The site was created by a who's who of educational leaders such as National Geographic, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In today's competitive global environment, learning cannot end with the school year. If every student devoted an extra 15 minutes a day during the summer to read a few extra pages of a favorite book, or play an educational math game, just think how much further along they would be when the new school year begins.

And, thanks to paper books as well as the wonder of technology — whether it's a netbook, a smart phone or a laptop — great educational resources are at your fingertips in a classroom, at home or on a beach.

Carla D. Hayden is chief executive officer of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. William R. Roberts is Verizon's president in Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Holding one's breath, GOP style

    Holding one's breath, GOP style

    Last month, the Obama administration announced tougher Clean Air Act rules intended to reduce ground-level ozone, the chief component of the smog that plagues the Baltimore-Washington area and much of the nation. With at least half the pollution blowing into Maryland from the burning of fossil...

  • GDP must consider environmental costs

    GDP must consider environmental costs

    The Sun's recent editorial about the GOP's intention to gut the EPA's authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions touches on an important economic issue ("Holding one's breath, GOP-style," Dec. 9).

  • Smog limits are badly needed

    Smog limits are badly needed

    Maryland has the worst air on the East Coast and highest premature death rate in the nation. National Academy of Sciences data suggest that health impacts resulting from fossil fuels cost $73 per household per month in Maryland and are a drag on the economy. Yet conservative deniers and their self-serving,...

  • City smog threatens our health and the economy

    City smog threatens our health and the economy

    The EPA's recent decision to tighten limits on smog pollution is commendable and necessary ("Holding one's breath, GOP style," Dec. 8).

  • Carbon fee is bipartisan solution to climate change

    Carbon fee is bipartisan solution to climate change

    Missing from John Fritze's summary of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address ("Obama turns populist in State of the Union speech," Jan. 21) are his comments on the greatest threat to future generations — climate change. I applaud President Obama for bringing up this difficult issue...

  • Stricter ozone standards would be disastrous for the economy

    Stricter ozone standards would be disastrous for the economy

    Your editorial on ozone regulations suggests we would have no national ozone standards at all without the EPA's onerous new regulations ("Holding one's breath, GOP style," Dec. 8). Not true. The current ozone standards of 75 parts per billion (ppb) are the most stringent in history. Issued in 2008,...

  • Coping with climate change

    Coping with climate change

    A recent letter to the editor points out that a solution to climate change is available that could be supported by Republicans ("Carbon fee is bipartisan solution to climate change," Jan 22).

  • Climate change represents the gravest threat to civilization

    Climate change represents the gravest threat to civilization

    Ever think how climate change and rising temperatures could endanger our society and our atmosphere? Climate change is a problem that is not only continental but also universal.

Comments
Loading

72°