Tell Time How Your Library Helps Offset the Summer Slide

This week, Time published “The Case Against Summer Vacation,” a cover story on summer learning loss for children and teens. Author David von Drehle’  focused on how students, particularly those in low-income areas, lose important reading and learning skills over the summer due to a lack of intellectual activity. He highlighted a number of camps, academies, and community programs with fun, engaging activities for kids and teens that encourage achievement and get youth interested in reading, writing, drama, math, science, and other academic areas.

In the article, von Drehle laments that these camps and academies have tuition costs and waiting lists, and those lists don’t even take into account the overworked or disengaged parents who haven’t even thought how they can prevent their kids from suffering from isolation, boredom and inactivity over the summer. And then he worries that Americans have no hope in offsetting the summer slide other than a ragtag coalition of volunteers, entrepreneurs, and camp counselors.

Of course, we know one other group that can make a huge difference when it comes to the summer slide. And that’s librarians. Libraries offer free programs year-round that do exactly what von Drehle calls for and they’re nearly absent from the article, save for a mention of ALA’s homepage as a place to find book recommendations.

As you are finishing your summer reading program — which, as a recent IMLS-funded Dominican University study shows, can make a huge difference in the achievement gap — please take a minute and let Time know about the programs your library offers, how they encourage children and teens to become better, more engaged readers — and how anyone, of any background and from any region, can be a part of it for free at your library.

Time has shut down comments for this article online, unfortunately, but you can still send a letter to letters@time.com.

About Stephanie Kuenn

Stephanie Kuenn is the communications specialist for YALSA, where she is responsible for YALSA's web content, publications, and media relations. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in library and information studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and holds an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a B.A. in history and journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She enjoys baking, watching sports, and reading. Her favorite book is "All the King's Men" by Robert Penn Warren.
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