Friday, June 20, 2008

Another reason to visit Log Cabin Village!

Here's a great article that recently appeared in the Institute of Museum and Library Services' (IMLS) newsletter. Enjoy!

Museum and Library Programs Can Slow Summer
Learning Loss in Young People

For many children, summer holds the promise of swimming pools and summer camps. But parents know that it’s also a time when children can lose valuable educational gains made during the school year -- an average student who doesn’t read or engage in other learning opportunities can lose as much as 2.5 months of learning over the summer! The nation’s libraries and museums stand ready to help children and youth enjoy exciting summer time activities and retain their educational gains.

“We encourage families to participate in the low- and no-cost museum and library programs that are available in virtually every state,” said Anne-Imelda M. Radice, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). “The programs are so much fun. In addition to outstanding reading programs, museums and libraries offer arts and craft making, games, family nights, contests, and prizes. There are also visits by authors, story tellers, scientists, and educational entertainers.”

Libraries have been as busy as bees: Catch the Reading Bug is the theme for this year‘s National Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) reading program. For teens, the theme is Metamorphosis. The program’s 46 state members provide high-quality, low-cost summer reading program materials for children. IMLS funds many of the programs through the Library Services and Technology Act.

“Summer is a great time of year for children to choose books and discover the true joys of reading,” Radice said. “Many libraries have adult reading programs and intergenerational programs, so the whole family can participate.”

Many states customize their summer reading themes. For example, the Colorado State Library is partnering with the non-profit Butterfly Pavilion on an activity page that may be used as an admission “ticket” to the Butterfly Pavilion in August and September. Other states have followed suit:

  • New York has translated Six Easy Ways to Get Your Kids to Read this Summer into Spanish, Haitian Creole, Chinese, Korean, Urdu, Arabic, Bengali, and Russian.
  • In Wisconsin, Pam Carlson created a Summer Reading Game called "Who Will Be the Next Etymologist," in which young library patrons complete a series of educational bug-related tasks.
  • The Virginia state library posted the public service cartoon promoting summer reading in English and Spanish on at

Museums are also swinging into action. Many children’s museums, science centers, zoos and aquariums participate in reciprocity programs so your membership at one gets you free admission or other perks at others. IMLS supports many summer museum programs, including:

  • The Adventure Science Center in Nashville, TN, which will host free science camps for at-risk third through sixth grade students from June 23-July 18. (Museums for America grant)
  • The Summer Safari day camp at the Atlanta Fulton County Zoo, in Atlanta, GA. Volunteens, ages 13-17, will help out at this camp, for children ages 4-13. (Museums for America grant)
  • Summer archaeology and field ecology programs, hosted by The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut in Mashantucket, CT, for Pequot children and their non-Native peers. (Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services grant)
  • “Mini-camps,” co-sponsored by the Staten Island Children's Museum in Staten Island, NY, that are expressly for children with anxiety and attention disorders. At these camps, they can paint, sculpt, garden, and cook with other children. (Museums for America grant)

Summer Learning Tips

To minimize children’s summer learning loss, IMLS offers tips for parents:

  1. Visit your local library and sign up your kids for the summer reading program.
  2. Read to and with your kids. Be an example to your kids by doing some reading yourself.
  3. Use the library to explore your child’s interests. Ask the librarian how to find books, Web sites and other resources to nurture your child’s curiousity.
  4. Plan low-cost, educational field trips to local parks, zoos, and museums.
  5. Check out free programs and day camps at your local library or museum.

“By taking their kids to libraries and museums, parents can minimize the effects of summer vacation on learning,” Radice said. "Libraries and museums are also a great place to meet new friends and build social networks in person and online. It’s fun for everyone."

More resources:

  1. To learn more about the National Collaborative Summer Library Program, please visit:
  2. For more information on summer learning loss, please visit the Johns Hopkins University Center for Summer Learning Web site at
  3. For more information on family literacy, please visit the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) Web site at Many of the materials are in English and Spanish.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit

1 comment:

Meg said...

Thanks for the insights and tips on closing the summer learning gap!

Meg Ivey
National Center for Family Literacy