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.

Time To Target The Criminal

While we are in the mood to give up our constitutional rights, why not go after a few in our justice system that protect the criminal and not restrict the law-abiding gun owner?  I for one would be more agreeable to keeping some of these killers off the streets. I gladly welcome TSA screening at the airport, I am pleased when they ask me for an ID at the bank even though ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What You Leave Behind

Randy Travis, one of the best at singing country songs that has ever been, had a song about three people who got killed when an 18-wheeler missed a stop sign. There was a farmer and a teacher, a hooker and a preacher on this bus and Randy tells us: “One's headed for vacation, one for higher education, An' two of them were searchin' for lost souls.” In that wonderful song, the ... (click for more)

Customer At East Ridge Gas Station Shoots And Kills Robber; He Had Been Trying To Take Female Clerk With Him

East Ridge Police said a customer at an East Ridge gas station early Thursday morning shot a robber, who was then found by police lying outside the station and was arrested.  The robber has died.  His name is being withheld pending the notification of next of kin. At 1:47 a.m., East Ridge Police responded to 4011 Ringgold Road, the Marathon Service Station, on ... (click for more)

Bridge Repair Over 12th Street To Cause Temporary Lane Closure On US 27

While investigating a pothole in the bridge on U.S. 27 North over 12 th Street in the construction zone, crews discovered a potential weak spot in the bridge deck that could over time result in more damage to the bridge deck.  For the safety of the traveling public, the outside lane in this area will be closed until the contractor makes necessary repairs, TDOT officials ... (click for more)

Travis Hale New Softball Coach At Soddy-Daisy

(Story will be updated)  Travis Hale, who spent one year under being groomed for the job, has been named the new softball coach at Soddy-Daisy High School. Hale, who previously was an assistant coach at Hixson and head coach at Loftis Middle School, worked as an assistant under Wes Skiles. In a story on May 9, Chattanoogan.com noted that Skiles had told District ... (click for more)

Pensacola Pins Lookouts With 3-0 Shutout Wednesday

PENSACOLA, Fla. -   In his Blue Wahoos Stadium debut, the 21-year-old Tyler Mahle showed he belongs here by throwing five scoreless innings, striking out eight, including four in a row, and pitching his way out of two bases-loaded jams. His poise helped Pensacola win the opener of the five game series against Chattanooga, shutting them out, 3-0, in front of the Blue Wahoos ... (click for more)