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The Magic of Summer Reading

BY Anna Bell

Summer is a magical time for children – a time to play, explore the outdoors, develop talents and hobbies, and take a break from school. As adults, we often look back on summer break as a time of freedom. But how does the freedom of summer impact learning? Is there a “summer slide” during which months of learning progress is lost?

Results from decades of research on the “summer slide” vary widely, with researchers placing summer learning losses at anywhere from a week to several months’ worth of knowledge. What researchers do generally agree on is that an achievement gap already exists when students enter Kindergarten. This gap then remains with students throughout much of their primary and secondary education.

While learning tends to slow during summer break, it also offers a chance for parents and students to shrink the gap and improve future learning outcomes.

Part of the magic of summer is having the time to explore subjects and opportunities there simply isn’t time for during the school year.

Summer camps and other learning center programs are an option, but may be inaccessible to some families, particularly those without the resources to access paid learning opportunities. This is where the public library comes in.

Every summer, Collierville offers a free Summer Reading Program at the Lucius E. & Elsie C. Burch, Jr. Library. Patrons of any age can reap the benefits by reading in multiple formats available through the library. Books, magazines, and newspapers are available in the library and online with a library card. Reading just 15 minutes a day can expand vocabulary, increase knowledge base, and strengthen analytical thinking. Fun, engaging educational programs, learning challenges, and incentive prizes for participants supplement the summer reading offerings. There’s something for everyone.

To find out more about the Summer Reading Program and other resources the Library offers, visit the Library’s website at

September/October 2021 Tour Collierville Magazine