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Education advocates are working to reduce the 'summer slide'

Education advocates are working to reduce the 'summer slide'
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Robot built by students at SR1 in Ridgeland.
Gabriel Bowman, MPB

Students can lose equivalent to a month or more worth of learning and comprehension during the summer break. As MPB's Ashley Norwood reports, advocates say it is important students maintain academic skills and learn new things.

Most grade school students in Mississippi are in their final days of class and advocates are discussing ways to reduce the summer slide. It is a decline in reading ability and other academic skills that can occur over the summer months when school isn't in session.

Tamu Green is founder of SR1, a free STEM education program in Central Mississippi. He says on average students can lose almost three month's worth of learning during the summer and for some the risk is greater.

"Mississippi you know we have one of the highest poverty rates. Alot of the times the students that are of lower social economic backgrounds have an even higher level of loss," said Green.

It's been three years since Corinth School District made a dramatic shift in its academic calendar moving to a year round schedule. Lee Childress is superintendent. He says periodic breaks throughout the year instead of a long summer is helping reduce the summer slide.

"Since they are having to read more and write more that is benefiting them and better preparing them, we believe, at the end of the school year with a little help over the summer they are pretty much ready to go when we get ready to started school back," said Childress.

Tracy Carr with the Mississippi Library Commission says there are more than 50 libraries across the state offering free educational programs for children during the summer.

"They're a place to gather and to learn. Not just about a book but a lot of the summer programs are about animals or space or just a variety of topics," said Carr.

To find a library near you, visit the Mississippi Public Library Directory online. Ashley Norwood, MPB News.