Summer Reading Loss

As we hit heat in the triple digits, summer can seem innervating. Unfortunately, just as kids set into the casual routine of vacation, an insidious truth emerges: some students often return to school with a lower reading aptitude than when they finished school. Among the first to note this phenomenon in 1978, Barbara Hayns determined that different rates of summer learning among students may have a persistent effect over how their educational career develops. In other words, when a student loses skills in summer, it takes her/him a considerable time to catch back up while her/his fellow students continue to improve.

Summer reading loss affects those of lower socioeconomic status, and those of color, disproportionately. In what eminent sociologist Karl Alexander called “turning off the tap,” during the school year schools provide resources that are not available to many people in the summer months. Those with more resources (usually those of higher socioeconomic status or whose parents have more education) tend to do better while the tap is off. Meanwhile, those with fewer resources often feel the strain and suffer disproportionate losses.

However, one solution is to keep reading, either through a formal summer reading program or through a self-directed program. In an effort combat summer reading loss, we’ve created the Summer Reading Pledge on “Find A Book”. Here parents and students can select books that match their Lexile Reading Levels. With the simple Summer Reading Log, parents and students can track a student’s reading progress. It is hard to fathom that the halcyon summer holidays help contribute to an increasing achievement gap among students. Yet, just keeping students engaged with the right books can go along way to narrowing the gap and curtailing summer loss.

Fighting Summer Learning Loss

In partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), MetaMetrics freely provides the annual “Chief’s Summer Learning Challenge” to state education agencies to develop and sustain their summer reading programs. Led by CEO and President Malbert Smith, Ph.D., who serves on the National Summer Learning Association’s Board of Directors, the summer learning challenge is a favorite project among the MetaMetrics staff. It is fulfilling work that relies on the collaboration and dedication across the MetaMetrics team—from engineering to government relations to the marketing department. This year MetaMetrics celebrates its 5th year of leading the fight against summer learning loss.

This summer, MetaMetrics collaborated with 21 state departments of education to combat the negative effects of summer reading loss. Among the 21 states participating in the Chief’s Summer Learning Challenge, the Lexile “Find a Book” search tool, Summer Reading Log and Summer Reading Pledge were promoted to encourage targeted reading practice. These promotional efforts have not gone unnoticed! For example in Kentucky, with many thanks to the tireless efforts of Kathy Mansfield at the KY Department of Education, over 7,200 summer reading pledges have been submitted. The Summer Reading Pledge is available until August 31st, and so far more than 120,000 books have been pledged to read nationwide.

MetaMetrics also leads a charge against summer math loss. The Summer Math Challenge launched in 2013, and has gained great momentum and popularity over the years. Participants have reported:

“I think that this is a great COST-EFFECTIVE activity for ALL parents. I look forward to each activity so that I have “scheduled learning” time for the summer with my daughter.”

“The summer math challenge was great…the exercises were right on target and fun.

This summer, 19 state education agencies have promoted the Summer Math Challenge through press releases, listserv emails and social media outreach. To see which states particpated this year, and past years, visit: https://www.quantiles.com/content/summer-math-challenge/state-participants/. Like the resources for the Chief’s Summer Learning Challenge, the Summer Math Challenge is made freely available to all participants. For more information about the summer math and reading initiatives, visit: https://www.quantiles.com/content/summer-math-challenge/ and https://lexile.com/chiefs-challenge/.

National Summer Learning Day

Today, July 14th, marks National Summer Learning Day, an annual advocacy day created by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) to bring attention the importance of keeping kids learning over summer break. Each year students grow in their reading and mathematics abilities during the academic school year. However, some of that learning can fade away over the summer months. This phenomenon is called “summer learning loss” and is well documented by researchers. Here at MetaMetrics, we strive to fight summer learning loss by providing free online tools designed to promote reading, maintain math skills and inspire summer learning.

Jump start summer reading with “Find a Book“. The Lexile “Find a Book” tool lets you search our extensive database for books within your reader’s Lexile range. Enter your Lexile measure, then narrow your search by selecting topics that interest your reader. You can also use the tool to check the availability of books at your local library or purchase titles from major booksellers. When using “Find a Book”, don’t forget to submit your Summer Reading Pledge and download our new Summer Reading Log.

Keep math skills sharp with the Quantile Summer Math Challenge, a math skills maintenance program based on grade-level standards that help prepare students for college and careers. The program is targeted to students entering grades 2-8 next fall and is designed to help students retain math skills learned during the previous school year. The Summer Math Challenge lasts for six weeks and focuses on one math concept per week. From June 20th through July 29th this year parents will receive daily emails with fun activities and links to educational resources.  Missed the Summer Math Challenge this year? Register any time and receive reminders for next year.

MetaMetrics is an educational measurement organization. Our renowned psychometric team develops scientific measures of student achievement that link assessment with targeted instruction to improve learning.