Ahhh … it’s the summer – when kids rejoice in having no homework, assignments and school responsibilities for a few months.
But is that really a good thing? A New York Times op-ed contributor says no, it’s not, according to a July 27, 2011 article.
Jeff Smink said, “If students are not engaged in learning over the summer, they lose skills in math and reading. Summers off are one of the most important, yet least acknowledged, causes of underachievement in our schools.”
On The Children’s Aid Society’s website, it states, “Most students lose about two months of grade-level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months,” according to National Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University.
Of course when I was a teenager, I loved the last day of school and looked forward to the lazy days of summer when I didn’t have to get up early for school, had no homework to complete and had no tests to study for.
Now that I have my own child, although only an almost 4-month-old, I look at this topic from a different point of view.
I love taking my son, Benjamin, to Coplay Public Library’s Munchkin Music program, held 4 p.m. Thursdays.
So what can parents, guardians, grandparents and nannies do to keep educating children throughout the summer?
To start, look to your local library. Often times, if not all times, these programs are free and open to the public.
Just make sure to check if registration is required. Below are The Press newspapers’ local libraries and just one of their many featured programs.
• Coplay Public Library: The STEM Lab, 6 p.m. Wednesdays. According to the library’s website, “Best suited for kids and teens, the lab is open to everybody! Together we’ll explore science and engineering by building things, performing experiments and playing games. Meet an architect in August!”
• Northampton Area Public Library: Storyoga, 11 a.m. Tuesdays. According to the library’s director, “The session includes stories, songs and playful yoga stretches for children ages three to six and their caregivers. No previous yoga practice is needed.”
• Public Library of Catasauqua: Summer reading program activities, 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays. On July 18, there will be a local wildlife presentation by Wildlands Conservancy.
• Whitehall Township Public Library: Super Science & Amazing Art, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 1. According to the library’s director, “Brains will be under construction! Come explore with Super Science & Amazing Art to find out how to build a better mind while having a blast. This program is open to all ages – 0 to 99!”
• Allentown Public Library: Monday Morning Fruit Cart, 10:30 a.m. Mondays. According to the library’s website, this program is a “family storytime on the front lawn – stories, songs and fun for the whole family. Bring your blanket and enjoy fruits and vegetables provided by the Allentown Health Bureau’s fruit cart.” On July 17, Therapy Dogs will be there for children to practice their reading skills.
• Bethlehem Area Public Library: Books Alive!, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 19. There will be a book discussion of “I Survived: The Shark Attacks of 1916,” and a shark documentary will be shown. The program is for students in grades four to six. Bring a lunch and the library will provide snacks and drinks.
• Emmaus Public Library: Backyard Wildlife, 2 p.m. Aug. 19. The summer reading club program will close with a visit by Wildlands Conservancy.
• Hellertown Area Library: Writing workshop for teens and adults with local author Joe Harvey, 6 to 8 p.m. July 19.
• Lower Macungie Library: The Amazing Library Race, 1 to 2 p.m. July 22. According to the library’s website, “The Amazing Library Race is a fun race through the Dewey Decimal System. This is no ordinary look at the Dewey Decimal System. Teams will have to complete a challenge at 10 different stations. Do you complete the easiest challenge that gives you fewer points, or do you try the harder challenge that has a higher payout? It’s your team’s choice as you race through the 000s to the 900s!”
• Parkland Community Library: Summer storytime, 10:30 to 11 a.m. Mondays. According to the library’s website, “We will read books, sing songs and get moving with shakers, scarves and parachutes. The program is best for children ages 18 months to three years, but older and younger siblings are welcome to attend.”
• Slatington Public Library: Wonderful World of Wildlife, 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesdays. This program is for children ages three through fifth grade.
Just from this short list, you can see there are fun, educational programs for all ages. Visit your local library in person or on its website to learn about all the programs they have for your little one or teenager. It’s important to keep young minds growing and thriving throughout the entire year, especially in the summer!