Students around Mississippi are heading into their summer vacations. While many see that time as a well-deserved break, it also contributes to a phenomenon known as summer learning loss. Summer reading programs may reverse learning loss and help students make educational gains.
Research conducted by the Wallace Foundation -- a national education philanthropy group -- show that students, on average, may forget up to two months’ worth of math and reading skills they learned the previous year.
Robert Langford is with Operation Shoestring -- a Jackson-based non-profit focused on benefiting vulnerable families and children.
"We'll see more back-sliding, as we call it, for low income kids than for middle class kids," says Langford. "There are fewer educationally related opportunities during the summer for low income than there are for more financially affluent kids."
As part of an effort to combat summer learning loss, education groups around the nation have recommended parents place their children in some kind of academic summer program.
In Jackson, city officials have been promoting summer reading programs through the Jackson-Hinds Library System. Mayor Tony Yarber says programs like these benefit the community as a whole.
"Without the gift of reading, our children are doomed to repeat a cycle of failure," says Yarber. "It is what happens inside classrooms, in homes, in churches, in after-school care programs, in grandmama’s house, in granddaddy's, it is the opportunity for people to read and be able to read effectively."
It is estimated that teacher's spend the first four to six weeks of a new school year going over what students forgot during the summer.