Happy Summer Learning Day!

Congratulations to the National Summer Learning Association for a great day of advocacy and awareness! To spread the word, TASC rounded up a great list of ideas and resources for a rich summer experience.

Guest post by Therese Workman, Web Communications Manager, TASC

Summer is nearly here, and school is letting out! Before we all kick off our flip-flops and nestle into hammocks, it’s good to take a look at some hard facts. According to the National Summer Learning Association, too much R+R without helping kids keep up their academic skills can result in more than just forgetting a few vocab words:pic 1

  • Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in math skills over the summer months. Low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement, despite the fact that their middle-class peers make slight gains.
  • More than half of the achievement gap between kids from lower and higher income homes can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, poorer kids are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college.
  • Kids lose more than academic knowledge over the summer; those who are at high risk of obesity gain weight more rapidly during summer break.

So how do we keep kids engaged and active—outside of school? We’ve pulled together some creative ways to keep kids from slipping down that dreaded “summer slide:”

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“Play with Shrinky Dinks to learn about the fundamental law of physics: the ‘conservation of matter.’ A 5-year-old will immediately notice how the size of the Shrinky Dink actually increases, or in her words, ‘gets fatter,’ while cooking. So get out your rulers and have fun learning physics.” (Here’s a sample lesson plan.) – Jessica Donner, Director, Every Hour Counts

“When my now 20-year-old son was a boy, we liked to expand his horizons by taking him to see classic films in the park or to listen to outdoor music performances — mostly jazz festivals, like the Charlie Parker festival in Tompkins Square Park in the East Village. You can bring food, relax and take in some great storytelling and inspiring musicianship.” (Check out the Bryant Park outdoor summer movie schedule) – Deborah Taylor, Regional Tutor Coordinator, MS ExTRA

“I’m a big fan of First Book and they’re big fans of summer reading! Right now, their blog is filling up with book lists for different age groups. As someone who spent lots of summers reading as a kid, I’m loving this way to beat the summer slide!” – Rebecca Forbes, Research Programs Specialist
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» EducationWorld has prepared a list of 25 Summer Learning Activites, including making your own ice cream, creating magic crystal gardens and building the “best paper plane in the world.”

» Scholastic’s 50 Ideas for Summer Learning are broken into categories by subject and grade level, including games for long car trips.

» The folks at ReadingRockets remind us that keeping up writing during the summer – in addition to reading – is also important. Check out ways to start up kid blogs, create summer trading cards and use geotagging to create scavenger hunts with your smartphone.

» The Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) has just announced even more opportunities for middle school-aged participants in summer enrichment programs. Be sure to check out the new additions and pre-enroll by June 30.

Do you have any activities or ideas to keep summer both fun and productive? Let us know in the comments!

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