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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 4, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Summer learning loss: Make learning fun; provide better reading options

Solutions that combine academics with fun

This session has seen a lot of bipartisan agreement in both the House and Senate that Washington state needs to address summer learning loss. Lance Dickie’s column [“How to solve summer learning loss and close the opportunity gap,” Opinion, Jan. 30) spoke to the importance of addressing summer learning loss. How big is this loss for Washington?

According to the National Summer Learning Association, “Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical skills over the summer months.” We know that poverty is a major predictor for summer learning loss. This loss is the greatest single contributor to students’ opportunity gap, especially for our students of color, English language learners, those who are homeless or in foster care, and students with disabilities.

Three bills introduced into the state Legislature offer affordable evidenced–based solutions through school-community partnerships to improve academic performance of struggling students. Incorporating the 2013 Rand Report recommendations, these bills ensure quality summer learning opportunities that provide for hands-on and experiential learning, combining academics with fun.

Sharonne Navas, Equity in Education Coalition

Provide better reading material

There is a much cheaper and much more effective way to deal with summer learning loss than by adding 20 days of school to the school year. Provide more access to interesting reading material.

Research tells us that those living in poverty have the least access to books. They also show the most summer loss, and those who read more over the summer make better gains in reading achievement.

Let’s invest in libraries filled with books and other kinds of material that students would read, as well as librarians who would help children find what is right for them.

We are living in a golden age of literature for young people. Let’s take advantage of it.

Stephen Krashen, professor emeritus, University of Southern California

0 Comments | More in Education | Topics: Lance Dickie, Sharonne Navas, Stephen Krashen

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