Celebrating Summer Learning Day

Why Learning Matters Over Summer Break

The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) celebrates Summer Learning Day on July 12, 2018. The observance serves as an effort to emphasize the importance of learning experiences over the summer months, to empower students who have limited access to resources during the summer, and to organize motivated students, teachers, and community members to make learning happen for students across the country.

Every child experiences summer break in a different way — for many, it’s a time to explore different activities unavailable during the school year, and a flexible, fun time to relax. For other students, summer break can instead be a stressful time, when resources are limited and learning experiences are largely inaccessible. All students deserve an opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive during the summer — and educators need students to return to school in the fall safe and ready to learn. Summer Learning Day helps bring awareness to children’s summer experiences and promote activities or groups that can make positive learning opportunities accessible to all students.

A Closer Look

Summer break poses a variety of challenges for underserved student populations. For example, access to academically enriching programs and materials is often limited. Children with more resources available to them might spend time at the local library and attend summer camps or other organized activities. For students with fewer resources, these opportunities are less likely to be available, and their interactions with academically engaging activities can stall even more dramatically between school years as compared to their affluent peers. This has an impact on students in the long-term: for example, according to NSLA, most students lose about two months of mathematical skills every summer, and low income students typically lose another two to three months in reading.

Some core challenges underserved student populations face over the summer include:

  • Lack of opportunities to engage in academically enriching activities, including access to reading or other educational materials and limited time in summer learning programs
  • Difficulties in finding safe spaces to play, explore, and learn
  • A change in school-established access to nutritious meals and, in some cases, exercise

Despite these challenges, all students can have the opportunity to thrive during the summer months thanks to educators, parents, and community members who band together to ensure healthy learning experiences are increasingly available to all learners. The NSLA uses Summer Learning Day to mobilize these efforts and make them more visible to students, parents, and educators.

You can search for Summer Learning Day events and opportunities for all students happening in your area by exploring this database, which includes activities ranging from STEM activities at local libraries, to exercise and sports events, to gardening and story times:

We’ve also been brainstorming fun summer learning strategies and gathering resources to help parents, teachers, and community members empower all students during the summer months. Explore those resources here:

Like what you read? Give McGraw-Hill Education a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.