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.

Keep Jonathan Welch On The School Board

We all know there are problems with the management of our school system.   Fortunately for District 2, Jonathan Welch is not one of them. In the last four years, Jonathan Welch has become acutely aware of what's wrong in the Hamilton County Department of Education.    He not only recognizes the problems, he's worked to identify solutions, and with a reconfigured ... (click for more)

Time For A Change To Kathy Lennon

Although Roy Exum has accurately identified many of the failings of the Hamilton County Education Department and the school board’s culpability in the mess in recent months, he does not support the majority of Hamilton County’s citizens’ opinion that none of the current members of the school board should be re-elected, but insists that one, Jonathan Welch, should be returned to ... (click for more)

SEC Freezes Accounts Of 2 Chattanooga Brokers Accused Of Diverting $5 Million Raised From Investors

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday announced it has won a court-ordered asset freeze to halt an ongoing fraud by two former Chattanooga brokers with disciplinary histories who allegedly raised more than $5 million from investors without using the money as promised.  In an emergency action filed in Federal Court in Chattanooga, the SEC alleges that James Hugh ... (click for more)

Downtown Landmark The James Building Sold For The 2nd Time In 2 Years

A longtime downtown Chattanooga landmark, the James Building, has been sold just two years after trading hands. The former owners of Rivermont Golf and Country Club bought the 12-story office building in May 2014 from Luken Holdings for $5.1 million. Rivermont James Building LLC has now sold the skyscraper for $5,868,000. The sale was to Dew James LLC. Knoxville attorney ... (click for more)

Chuy To Handle East Hamilton AD Job Until Thurman Learns The Ropes

With Brad Jackson having left for the athletic director’s job at Ooltewah, East Hamilton principal Gail Chuy has taken on the AD duties for Hurricanes athletics. Chuy, however, is convinced that her AD tenure will be short-lived. “I’m going to be helping our new guy learn about high school athletics,” Chuy said Friday. “I’m the contact person for athletics right now, but ... (click for more)

CCS Names Eddie Salter, Ben Wharton As New Basketball, Baseball Coaches

Chattanooga Christian School announced that Coach Eddie Salter is returning to the men’s basketball program as the Varsity Head Coach for 2016-2017. He will be joined by Chattanooga Christian alumnus, Ben Wharton, who has been named the Varsity Head Coach of the men’s baseball program and the Junior Varsity Men’s Basketball Coach.  Former Varsity Head Basketball Coach ... (click for more)