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Pittsburgh Penguins hockey players on ice holding the Stanley Cup over their heads in victory.

Read Like a Champion Today!

A few weeks ago, the Pittsburgh Penguins finished the NHL season with a Stanley Cup victory. A week after that, the Cleveland Cavaliers finished the NBA season by breaking a fifty-two-year championship drought in Cleveland. Both teams did it in spectacular style, taking their respective series seven games and winning in the closing minutes of the match. You may think that they are just going to relax until the middle of September, when training camps for both leagues start.

You would be wrong.

Then they are going to start preparing for next season.

The players on each team are certainly going to take a break from their grueling, nine-month seasons. They will spend time with their families, head on vacation, sleep in a little, and catch up on the things they missed during the season. Then they will start preparing for the next season. They will spend some time in the gym. They will watch games from the last season so they can improve. They will then incorporate those insights into practices from the middle part of July to the time they walk into training camp.

Children in school are no different. School is nine months of homework, studying, learning, and testing. Teachers and students look forward to the end of the year for a few weeks of relaxation. The difference is that teachers start looking over lessons, taking some remedial classes, and preparing for school a few weeks into the summer. It is rare for students, especially young students, to do the same thing. There are far too many pools to play in, woods to explore, and television shows to watch even to consider getting children to do some reading. This leads to what many educators and people who study education refer to as the “summer slide”. The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) has started celebrating Summer Learning Day on July 14th to bring attention to a gap that can affect any student but is more pronounced in lower-income students.

There are far too many pools to play in, woods to explore, and television shows to watch even to consider getting children to do some reading.

Like athletes resting too much in the off-season, students who do not participate in learning can fall behind. It is a critical developmental time for children; third graders that fall behind in reading are four times more likely to drop out. Students who do nothing during the summer can lose up to three months of educational gains. It may not sound like much, but by fifth grade, some students may be two to three grades behind their peers. That is quite a bit to overcome, and they may not have a LeBron to lift them up.

That is why the NSLA encourages everyone to spend time with their child on July 14th for education. The time can be utilized in a variety of ways. You can sit down and read a book together or play educational games. Even a walk in the park or a trip to the store can be an opportunity to learn. If students do not have a support system available to them, reading a good book on that day can help. Especially if it is a book that piques the child’s interest. Developing healthy habits now will pay off over the course of a student’s career. 

We encourage you to participate in National Summer Learning Day on July 14th. You can see what other communities are doing on social media by following the hashtag #KeepKidsLearning, and learn things you can prepare at http://www.summerlearning.org. It is a perfect opportunity to sit down and read a book as part of your summer reading goals for Kids Read Now!

When school starts in just over a month, you want your students to be in shape and ready to learn as if summer vacation did not exist. Players on the Penguins and the Cavaliers will be heading back to do some work in the next few weeks to get ready for the next season. Ensure the students in your school are spending some time enjoying their summer while reading and getting ready for school to begin!

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