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Leon County offers resources to help your child avoid learning loss over Summer

Posted at 7:56 PM, Jun 15, 2023

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Summer Slide isn't as fun as it sounds, it's actually related to learning loss kids experience over the summer months when they're out of school. Something Leon County Schools is trying to address through their summer school program.

"We probably have about 3,000 students participating in some kind of summer program this summer," said Billy Epting, assistant superintendent of Academic Services with Leon County Schools.

Epting says American Rescue Plan funding helped them expand the program for the last two years to help address Covid learning loss as well. He says they determine who goes into the program based on math and reading scores.

"They come in and work on their reading and math skills based on where they are at the end of the school year. At the middle and high school level it's a credit recovery program," said Epting.

According to Colorado State University, having your child read just four to five books a summer can help keep them from experiencing that summer slide.

"Any support you can give them at home whether it's just give them a book to read take them to the public library get them to check out a book. Pick up a math skills worksheet at a local bookstore," Epting said.

A study by the Northwest Evaluation Association found that students in third through fifth grade can lose 20% of their reading skills and 27% of their math skills over the summer. Those numbers increase to 36% in reading and 50% in math for students in seventh grade.

Sally Mason, Learning and Workforce Services Manager for the Leon County Public Library, says they have a summer reading challenge anyone can take part in for 20 minutes a day.

"It's not something that's really hard," Mason explained. "We encourage people to pick up anything... it could be a magazine, it could be a graphic novel, it could be a book, a non-fiction book, a biography, depending on whatever your level is."

They also have free educational programs, where they provide a meal or a snack through Second Harvest.

"There's always an activity there, all of our locations also have activities that they hand out whether it's a coloring page or an interactive sheet that kids can interact with," Mason said.

It just goes to show that it takes little to no money to keep your child's skills sharp throughout the summer.

"We're here to provide services, programming, and opportunity for everybody no matter their circumstance or where they're coming from," Mason said.

During the summer you can still utilize the school for help keeping your child engaged by asking them for review materials.