Happy National Summer Learning Day! Today is a chance to celebrate the importance that quality summer learning programs provide to kids to keep their educational skills sharp. Children learn all twelve months of the year, not just August through May. Missing those few months of learning each summer can have a significant impact on the children’s educational future.
How much impact can that time have? Data shows that summer learning loss accounts for nearly two-thirds of the ninth grade achievement gap in reading. It also shows that the effects of participation in a summer learning program can benefit the child for at least two years afterwards. Local experience in Birmingham has shown average gains of at least two months in reading and math during a five to six week program, making a significant positive difference for these children.
That’s why the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham was thrilled to join forces with the Belk Foundation, Daniel Foundation of Alabama, Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation, Independent Presbyterian Church Foundation and the United Way of Central Alabama to fight the ‘summer slide’ by funding 16 summer learning programs for Birmingham area children. This is our Summer Adventures In Learning initiative – SAIL!
One such program is NorthStar Youth Ministries, hosted at Birmingham-Southern College. The 6-week summer learning program serves 80 students in 1st through 8th grades. A strong focus on reading, math, and science are combined with supplemental activities such as an entrepreneurship program, fitness activities, art and gardening and nutrition. We think academics + summer FUN + exposure to new experiences is a winning equation! What’s more, quality summer learning programs like Northstar give children a pathway for success and lays the educational foundation for the next school year.