A Holiday to Celebrate Summer Learning

By Nora Fleming — June 17, 2011 1 min read
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Next week, on the first day of summer, the United Way will be on the National Mall in Washington filling backpacks with books for elementary school children to promote summer reading and to recruit volunteers. Roughly 300 California students will head to the state capitol in Sacramento to interview congressional leaders on their favorite summer experiences and broadcast the video footage through social-media outlets. And a little later this summer, Building Educated Leaders for Life, BELL, will host readings of Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for the Ducklings on the Boston Common followed by rides on the city’s swan boats.

These events, and many others, are part of the 7th annual celebration of “National Summer Learning Day,” a national showcase that highlights the efforts of summer programs around the country and the importance of summer learning. The event, sponsored by the National Summer Learning Association, had 500 organizations participating last year.

On Tuesday, organizations, children and their parents, and community and political leaders will take part in events that so far include science fairs, career days, summer reading events at local libraries, town barbecues and carnivals, nature hikes, and community forums. Many focus on particular work or programming that organization is involved in, such as STEM or health and fitness. U.S. Rep. Donald Payne and California Secretary of Education Tom Torlakson are expected to show up at some of the events, and many others have invited local leaders to speak or become involved.

The association has posted an interactive map on its website where organizations can register their events and see what other organizations are planning; a toolkit and archived webinars provide suggestions for how to create an event.

Earlier this week, the National Summer Learning Association met with federal leaders on Capitol Hill to discuss detrimental effects of summer learning loss and how summer programs can help combat it. The National Summer Learning Coalition, a group of 45 organizations that will focus on summer learning advocacy efforts, was also introduced.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Beyond School blog.