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June 1, 2015
Last week, children all over Larimer County began their summer break. Many of them have exciting plans for the next few months including vacations, summer camps, and enriching classes. Whether it is playing reading games on a road trip or learning about science at a nature camp, these great activities all serve to reinforce the lessons learned in school each year. However, for the many children in Larimer County who cannot afford vacations or camps, summer is a time of very little stimulating activity. This lack of opportunity has a huge effect on those students' lives.
Studies have shown that over the summer, children who are not given educational opportunities lose some of the skills that they learned in the school year before. According to theReading is Fundamental Program, students without access to summer learning can fall behind by as much as 2 months over the course of the summer. This phenomenon is termed “Summer Slide,” and it affects the entire education system.
Summer Slide impacts kids from low income backgrounds to a disproportionately greater extent. Because they cannot afford to attend enriching opportunities over the summer months, they do not practice the skills they learned in the previous year at school. This means that as they go back to school they have fallen drastically behind their peers.
Over the years, those children who have fallen behind during the summers experience cumulative learning loss. It has been shown that this effect can account for up to 66% of the 9th grade academic achievement gap seen between students from low income backgrounds and those from middle or high income settings!
Summer slide also effects the other kids in the classroom. In a self-reported study, teachers estimated that they spent 22% of the school year helping kids to relearn the skills that they lost over the summer, meaning that in most cases, the months of September and October are spent reviewing and practicing old material from the previous year. This rehashing of last year's material impacts everyone in the classroom, not just those who have suffered from learning loss.
Thankfully, there are ways to stop the summer slide!
Collective Impact: Ensuring that all kids have access to summer learning opportunities is a key objective for United Way of Larimer County. Through our support of partners such as Boys and Girls Club, Kids Café, and B.A.S.E. Camp (to name a few), we are helping to make sure that every child has access to quality summer learning opportunities, regardless of socio-economic status.
United Way 2-1-1: United Way also helps to raise awareness about summer slide and the great community resources that exist to combat it. In addition to the summer resource guide that is published every year, the United Way 2-1-1 call center helps families get in contact with affordable and quality summer learning opportunities.
By supporting our partners and raising awareness around this key issue, United Way is helping all children to be successful in school, work, and life.
GIVE - Contributions to United Way's Community Impact Fundhelp to fund the great summer learning work being done here in Larimer County.
ADVOCATE - Help us to raise awareness about this important issue! Forward United Way's newsletter onto your friends and family or share this post on your favorite social media site to help educate our community about summer slide.
VOLUNTEER - You have the power to change a child's summer! Summer learning programs can always use volunteers to reach as many kids as possible. Call United Way 2-1-1 (970-407-7066) or look through our Volunteer Resource Guide to find a program that works for you.
Copyright 2015 United Way of Larimer County