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Advocates stress the importance of summer learning

Advocates stress the importance of summer learning
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Students in the SR1 Program

Summer learning loss disproportionately affects children in lower-income families, according to recent studies. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports.

Summer learning loss -or the summer slide- is a significant contributor to the educational achievement gap between black and white students that widens throughout the school year, according to a report by the National Summer Learning Association.

Tamu Green is the Director of SR1, a free STEM education program in Central Mississippi.

"During the summertime, mathematics and reading are the two biggest subjects where students get behind. The key part they found out about reading though, they get behind according to their socioeconomic background. Middle-class students have even shown to increase during the summertime in reading where those from low socioeconomic groups can fall two or more months behind, just during the summertime," said Green.

Green says summer activities that help high-poverty children maintain academic skills and learn new things are important.

"It's hard to run a race when you're already behind. So what we try to do during the summer months really give us the opportunity to make sure everyone is on an equal level so when school gets started you are equal with your peers, even those from a higher socioeconomic background," said Green.

Sidney Cobb is the director of the Humphreys County Library System in Belzoni. He says
public libraries in counties across the state offer access to technology and free summer reading and activity programs.

"So anything we can do to get them reading during the summer and open their mind and move their thoughts around. That's what we try to do with our summer reading program and I think it works to get our students in here and get them ready for the next year," said Cobb.

There are 51 public libraries in Mississippi. To find a library near you, visit the Mississippi Public Library Directory online. Ashley Norwood, MPB News.