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United Way Blog

Take Action on National Summer Learning Day!

National Summer Learning Day is a national advocacy day recognized to highlight the importance of high-quality summer learning programs. Summer Learning Day engages individuals in a national movement to spread awareness about the importance of ensuring that every child is safe, healthy and engaged in learning during the summer.

While summer break can be a fun, carefree time for students, it also presents special challenges to young people's education, health, and safety. Recent research suggests that two-thirds of the achievement gap at the ninth grade level is attributable to differential summer learning opportunities during the elementary grades. Most youth lose two months in math skills over the summer, according to research, but low-income youth also lose more than two months in reading achievement while their middle-income peers make slight gains. The effects of this “summer slide” are cumulative, and significantly contribute to the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income children. 

Children lose more than academic knowledge over the summer. Most children—particularly children at high risk of obesity—gain weight more rapidly when they are out of school during summer break.

In addition, eighty-six percent of students who received federally-subsidized school meals during the 2010-2011 school year did not receive such meals during the summer of 2011.

To ensure that young people succeed during the summer months, we need more public awareness and policies supporting high-quality summer programs and services to address the summer slide and meal gap. 

Help us promote healthy development and learning for students during the summer. Whether you’re a community, summer program, school, or parent, there are many ways to celebrate Summer Learning Day!

5 Ways You Can Combat the Summer Slide and Meal Gap

  1. Thank Senator @PattyMurray (D-WA) and @SenatorKirk (R-IL) for requesting a congressional study on the impact of summer on young people's learning and health. Send a thank you tweet! 
  1. Find free summer meals for children in your community. Send families to 1-866-3-HUNGRY or visit www.whyhunger.org/findfood to locate sites.
  1. Become a summer reader, tutor or mentor. Take our pledge and volunteer to help kids boost academic achievement in the summer months.
  1. Raise awareness about addressing the challenges of summer. Share reports from the National Summer Learning Association and Campaign for Grade Level Reading.
  1. Join the conversation on Twitter by sharing how families can keep their kids active and learning during the summer. Use the hashtag #SummerSuccess. See sample tweets below.

#SummerSuccess Tweets:

  • Did you know that obesity & food insecurity rise at a faster rate for children in the summer? Advocate for #summersuccess! #liveunited
  • Did you know that low-income students lose over 2-3 mos in reading skills each summer? Advocate for #summersuccess! #liveunited
  • Summer presents education & health risks for kids. Tell your member of Congress to support #summersuccess! #liveunited
  • Help raise awareness about free summer meals! Direct families to whyhunger.org/findfood. #summersuccess #liveunited
  • Pledge to read or mentor a child during the summer. Help support #summersuccess in your cmty:http://ow.ly/w3kzn #liveunited