Although school is still in session, it won't be long before summer vacation is here, and with it, the problem of summer learning loss. Research from the Center for Summer Learning at The Johns Hopkins University shows that students typically lose one to two months of reading and math skills during summer break, the so-called "summer slide." Teachers often spend four to six weeks at the beginning of each school year re-teaching material that students have forgotten. Yet summertime can be primetime for innovative and fun ways to keep young minds active and strong.
Education reporters interested in this topic should consider attending The Center for Summer Learning National Conference, Wednesday, April 18, through Friday, April 20, at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel. Educational leaders from around the nation will convene under the theme "Celebrate Summer as a Season for Learning," studying creative approaches and resources to enhance summer learning opportunities for young people in their communities.
"By fifth grade there is almost a two-year gap in achievement scores that can be traced directly to summer learning loss," says Ron Fairchild, executive director for the Center for Summer Learning. "There are so many exciting, creative ways to help bridge this gap, and our conference allows leaders from around the nation to share what works."
Experts available for interview include practitioners, researchers and supporters of high quality summer learning programs. A special pre-conference institute titled "Engaging Policymakers in Making Summer Learning a Priority" takes place on Wednesday. The center's annual Excellence in Summer Learning Awards will be celebrated on Friday morning. More information about the conference is available online at www.summerlearning.org/events/conference.html.
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