A Slide Children Need to Avoid This Summer

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 - by Secretary of State Tre Hargett

Summer vacation for Tennessee's students is upon us.  It’s a time when children can enjoy being outdoors, playing video games or doing any of the other fun things they like to do.  It’s also a time when they often forget a significant portion of what they learned in school the year before.

That’s right. Research has shown that, on average, students lose the equivalent of one month of instruction time from the academic year preceding summer break. For some students, the loss may be even greater – in some cases, up to three months. 

This phenomenon is sometimes referred to by educators as “the summer slide” or “summer set back.” And its effects are cumulative and long lasting. Each year, students fall further and further behind on the knowledge base they should be developing as they progress through school. 

Speaking as a parent, this “two steps forward, one step back” approach to education isn’t what I want for my children – and I think most other parents would agree. 

Fortunately, there is a way to combat summer slide. Studies have shown that children who keep their minds engaged by reading during the summer months are better prepared when school resumes in the fall. And summer reading programs are available at about 280 public libraries across Tennessee. 

These programs vary from library to library. Most offer children opportunities to receive prizes in exchange for reading certain numbers of books. Some also feature story hours, creative arts, performances, science experiments, cooking classes and other special events. Some libraries have summer reading programs geared towards teenagers and adults as well as younger children. 

These summer reading programs offer participants free entertainment in safe and climate-controlled (read: air conditioned) environments. 

They provide access to new books and e-books that participants might not be able to find or afford from other sources. 

They provide opportunities for shared community experiences. 

Summer reading programs are promoted across the United States by the National Collaborative Summer Learning Program, which prepares children for success through the development of language skills and integrates different literacy activities to motivate young adults to read and discuss books. 

Each year, there is a different theme for summer reading – and this year’s general theme is science. While the program isn’t limited to science-related books, that will be an area of emphasis of the programs at many of the participating libraries. 

I am proud that, through the Tennessee State Library and Archives and the Tennessee Regional Library System, my office is able to promote summer reading in three different ways: 

• We provide financial support by purchasing program manuals and summer reading materials for libraries throughout the state. 

• We provide education in the form of online resource pages, webinars, training sessions and a statewide summer reading conference to give librarians opportunities to share programming ideas, theme resources, information about national trends and more. 

• We also collect data about summer reading programs across the state to assist libraries in sharing resources and identifying trends that can be helpful to them in the future. 

The bottom line is that summer reading programs are fun, free and they have educational benefits. That’s a winning combination. 

So I encourage you to contact your local library and find out about its summer reading program. It’s time well spent. 

Tre Hargett is Tennessee’s Secretary of State.

Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com; Include Your Full Name, Address, Phone Number For Verification

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to  news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. This includes your home address and phone number. We do not post the contact information, but need it for verification. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

I am constantly amazed by the many emails that I receive every day. Quite curiously, I get a heavier load than I would ever have thought because the big search engines on the Internet send my Chattanoogan.com stories far and wide. Even the local ones on the Chattanooga area bring comments and I am deeply flattered. I try to read them and lament I haven’t the time to respond the ... (click for more)

Mae Beavers Hits New UT President For Reinstating Campus Diversity Office

Republican gubernatorial candidate Senator Mae Beavers expressed disappointment that the Chancellor of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Beverly Davenport, has announced plans to reinstate the Campus Diversity Office and hire a new director of the LGBT Pride Center. She said in May 2016 HB 2248 became law, which defunded the University of Tennessee’s Office of Diversity ... (click for more)

Wilkins Found With 2 Stolen Vehicles After Homeowner Catches Him In Break-In

Authorities said Jesse Lee Wilkins was found with two stolen vehicles after a resident on Thursday caught him stealing items from his residence on Cave Lane. Wilkins, 29, of 2906 E. 43rd St., was charged with aggravated burglary and two counts of theft over $1,000. When deputies arrived on a burglary call, they found Wilkins and the resident standing in the driveway. He said ... (click for more)

Sellout Crowd Treated To Wild Finish As Lookouts Nip Blue Wahoos Saturday, 3-2

With 6,376 fans on hand and the home team behind 2-0 with their final at bat, Chattanooga took advantage of  Pensacola's relief pitcher, Geoff Broussard, to rally for three runs in a walk-off 3-2 win. Broussard was unable to get a single batter out. Dan Rohlfing was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, giving the Chattanooga Lookouts the victory. Alex Perez scored the ... (click for more)

Cleveland High School Selects Joey Knox As Head Wrestling Coach

Cleveland High School has selected Joey Knox as the next head coach for the Blue Raider Wrestling program.  Coach Knox has been with the wrestling program as an assistant since 2013.  During his assistant coaching tenure, the team has secured six Team State Championships, including five individual State Champions and 20 State Medalists.    Cleveland High ... (click for more)