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Ways to Prevent Summer Learning Loss in Tennessee

After the school year ends, it’s important to keep your child’s mind active and sharp during summer break. Without reading and learning in the summer, children can lose as much as 30 percent of what they learned during the school year. By the end of fifth grade, that can mean the loss of three years of learning.

Once a student falls behind, it becomes even harder to catch up. That’s why it’s critical for kids to keep learning in the summer months.

Here are some ways in Tennessee to keep your child reading and learning over the summer:


First Lady’s Summer Reading Competition. Get your kids excited about reading this summer with First Lady Crissy Haslam’s Read to be Ready Summer Reading Competition Summer Reading Competition. Elementary school children can get a special reward by reading the most number of minutes over summer break.

All Tennessee children, from rising kindergartners to rising fourth-grade students, can participate. Kids are asked to keep track of their number of minutes read from June 1–July 27. They then can compete for Tennessee’s Top 100 Summer Readers. Students qualify to win a Top 100 Reader spot based on a lottery system.

The students who qualify as Top 100 Summer Readers will be invited to a Kids State Dinner with the Governor and First Lady at the Tennessee Residence in Nashville on Sunday, Aug. 12. One parent or guardian can go to the event with a child. Get more information on the program.


Library programs. Each summer, the state’s public libraries offer fun reading programs for children. From the smallest libraries to the largest systems, there are great programs available for kids of all ages. Many of them are tied to the 2018 statewide theme of Libraries Rock! Here are some of the programs available at libraries across the state:

White County Library: Teen summer reading program on Tuesday nights in July (6 p.m.-7 p.m., July 3-31). More information: 931-836-3613.

Portland Public Library: Separate programs for infants/toddlers, preschoolers and school-age kids in June. Preschoolers and school-aged have programs on three Wednesdays (June 13, 20, 27). Infant/toddlers meet on five Fridays (June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29). More information: 615-325-2279.

Benton County Library: Program for fifth grade and younger on six Fridays in June and July (June 15, 22, 29; July 13, 20, 27). More information: 731-584-4772.

Johnson City Public Library: Variety of programs for children 5 and younger (June 4-July 20) and kids 6-12 (June 4-July 20). More information: 423-434-4458.

Jackson-Madison County Library (main and north branch): Variety of special programs and events for kids and teens (June 2-July 28). More information: 615-741-3915.

Clinton Public Library: Variety of special programs and events for preschool, elementary age and teens (June 4-July 20). More information: 865-457-0519.

Marshall County Memorial Library: “Super Saturday” program offers music-related events at 1 p.m. each Saturday in June (2, 9, 16, 23, 30). More information: 931-359-3335.

To get your children involved in a program, call or visit your local public library. Access the public library directory of Tennessee online.


TN Electronic Library. The Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL) is a free resource for everyone in Tennessee. It’s your 24/7 online library. TEL provides access to magazine, journal, and newspaper articles, essays, practice tests, Ebooks, and more. TEL is available from any computer with access to the internet. Get more information.


More Ways to Encourage Summer Reading

Tennessee’s Imagination Library. Through the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF), all preschool children in Tennessee have the opportunity to enroll in Tennessee’s Imagination Library. Kids receive one book each month in the mail from birth to age 5—a total of 60 books—at no cost to families. You can register a child online by visiting the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation or by calling 877-99-BOOKS.

Let kids select books. Give your kids the chance to pick out their own books at the library or bookstore. Research from the University of Tennessee shows that children who choose their own books over the summer are more excited about reading. They read more and learn more.

eBooks for Children. Tennessee R.E.A.D.S. is a free online library that contains thousands of electronic books (eBooks) for children. All you need to get eBooks is a library card from your public library and a computer/laptop or a portable device such as a tablet, a smartphone or an eReader. Get more information.


Additional Resources

See this list of 10 free summer reading programs that will keep learning going through the summer.

For more information about summer learning loss and its effects, visit the National Summer Learning Association.

Find more educational activities you can enjoy with your child to prevent summer learning loss.

Summer break is a great time for you to help your child get ready for the school year. Get some ideas for fun summer educational activities.