For most families, summer means outdoor activities, family fun days on the beach, and many other adventures that make for an unforgettable Pure Michigan summer. For families with students where summer activities are out of reach due to expense or availability, summer brings the “summer slide.” This occurs when students do not have structured activities, causing them to lose 20 to 30 percent of what they learned during the previous school year. This problem has been compounded by the impact of the pandemic on schools.
To offset the “summer slide,” Kent District Library runs a 10-week long Summer Wonder reading and learning program for all ages. Summer Wonder has the most participation of any reading program in the state of Michigan and is recognized by education experts as an important resource for helping students retain critical literacy skills during the summer months.
This program focuses on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) to help bridge the learning and achievement gap for students. Beginning June 1, Summer Wonder will feature live-streamed entertaining and educational programming throughout Kent County, including storytellers, magicians, crafts, and more for the whole family to enjoy. This has been a very successful program in the past with over 19,000 patrons completing the 30-day program in 2019 and over 6,300 patrons completed the program in 2020 despite the pandemic.
We invite you to join our commitment to increase the number of Summer Wonder completers, particularly students. Last year, 2,264 children (age 2-10 years) completed their reading lists, and it's our goal to increase that number by 10% this year. Summer Wonder encourages children to continue reading and to enjoy STEAM-based projects that offset the “summer slide.”
“Kids lose themselves in books, they find themselves there too.” – Lewis Keegan
Thank you for supporting this work to help set up students for success in a way that is motivating, fun, and rewarding at the same time. To give, please visit kdl.org/donate and make a restricted donation to the 2021 Spring Appeal.
Director of Fund Development.