Investing in Summer Reading Programs: A Crucial Step towards Learning Recovery and Social Emotional Learning, Experts Say
Experts are emphasizing the critical role of summer reading programs in promoting learning recovery and fostering social emotional development. Investing in these programs has become an urgent necessity to address the widening educational gaps and support the development of our students.
The disruptions caused by the pandemic have had a profound impact on education, with many students experiencing learning loss and social emotional setbacks. To mitigate these effects and ensure a successful academic rebound, experts are advocating for increased investments in summer reading programs.
“Summer reading programs offer a unique opportunity to bridge the learning gap and provide much-needed support for students,” says Michelle Torgerson, President and CEO of Raising a Reader. “By engaging students and their families together in enriching reading activities during the summer months, we can help prevent the loss of critical literacy skills and stimulate cognitive development.”
Beyond academic benefits, summer reading programs also play a pivotal role in fostering social emotional learning (SEL). Students who participate in these programs develop important social and emotional skills such as empathy, self-awareness, and resilience, which are crucial for their overall well-being and future success in school and beyond.
“Investing in summer reading programs can yield significant returns for communities,” says Torgerson. “Research has consistently shown that students who participate in such programs contribute to reduced summer learning loss, narrowing achievement gaps, and fostering a lifelong love for reading.”
Research has shown that children who do not engage in reading and other educational activities over the summer can lose up to two months of academic progress. This loss disproportionately affects children from lower resourced communities, exacerbating educational inequalities.
“Addressing the summer slide is crucial to our ongoing efforts to promote early literacy and combat educational inequities,” said Rebecca Crystal, Managing Director, Programs & Partnerships at Raising a Reader. “Raising a Reader’s Super Summer Learning Adventures Program empowers children and their families with the tools, resources, and support they need to not only mitigate learning loss but also thrive academically.”