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Philanthropy Thought Leader Uncategorized

Keep up with lessons while you learn a lesson

Vanessa Meyer

By Vanessa Meyer, program officer, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

We often hear about the challenges of the “summer slide” – too many students lack access to quality education and enrichment opportunities during the summer break, and lose valuable knowledge and skills gained during the academic year, especially in core subject areas such as reading and math. Numerous studies show addressing the summer slide is critical to closing achievement gaps too, with low-income children more likely to suffer a setback by as much as one month if they are unable to access summer camps and activities more privileged students participate in.

Many of us remember having summer reading lists in school that were considered more as a chore we had to endure, not a fun way to spend a summer afternoon. But when you make reading fun and engaging, it can open a new world to a child by hearing a magical story about a new place or learning about a prominent historical figure.

This summer, we encourage families to check out the local library or free community book fairs or swaps to find new books that expand reading choices for children at home. Attending a story time can allow children to interact with other kids while also developing a love of reading. Also, look into what your local school system offers for summer learning with many in our region finding new ways to redefine summer school and make it interactive and engaging, according to this recent WSB-TV report.

Reading and philanthropy can also go hand in hand. Here are some books you can share with youngsters even before they know how to read, or you can recommend that older students read and talk about with you. 

  • K-grade 2: “Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed,” by Emily Pearson and Fumi Kosaka
  • Grades 3-5: “Kids Who Are Changing the World,” by Anne Jankéliowitch
  • Grades 6-8: “How to Be an Everyday Philanthropist: 330 Ways to Make a Difference in Your Home, Community, and World – at No Cost!” by Nicole Brouchard Boles
  • Grades 9-12: “The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Ordinary Change,” by Adam Braun

As a bonus, they each provide an example of the ways that just one person can make the world better for us all, sometimes even in the smallest ways, providing a summer lesson all around.

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