Avoiding the Summer Slide

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The Summer Slide has nothing to do with swimming pools or water parks. It’s a phenomenon that occurs when children lose ground during the summer and return to school less equipped to learn. We’ll take you to a summer Circus Camp that helps children keep learning during the summer, then Dawn Gerundo, Director of Education and Children at Valley of the Sun United Way, will talk about ways to help kids avoid the Summer Slide.

TED SIMONS: IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN CIRCUS CAMP, VISIT CIRCUS SCHOOL OF ARIZONA DOT COM. PROGRAMS LIKE THE CIRCUS CAMP HELP CHILDREN KEEP LEARNING DURING THE SUMMER. HERE TO TELL US ABOUT MORE WAYS TO AVOID THE SUMMER SLIDE, A TIME WHEN KIDS TEND TO LOSE GROUND IN LEARNING, IS DAWN GERUNDO, DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION AND CHILDREN AT VALLEY OF THE SUN UNITED WAY, AND KATHY HUSSER, DEPUTY SERVICES DIRECTOR FOR THE TEMPE PUBLIC LIBRARY.

TED SIMONS: GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE. THANKS FOR JOINING US. THE SUMMER SLIDE, SUMMER LEARNING LOSS, A KID COULD LOSE A LOT THERE IF THEY ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION, HUH?

DAWN GERUNDO: THEY SURE CAN. IT'S THAT TIME WHEN FAMILIES ARE NOT ACTIVE IN ENGAGING CHILDREN, EXERCISING THOSE MINDS.

TED SIMONS: IS THERE READING MORE THAN MATH? WHAT DO YOU THINK TAKES THE BIGGEST HTI?

DAWN GERUNDO: IT DEPENDS ON THE INDIVIDUAL CHILD. FAMILIES CAN ENGAGE IN UTILIZING THEIR MINDS TO MAINTAIN THE LEARNING THEY HAVE HAD OVER THE SCHOOL YEAR.

TED SIMONS: AT THE LIBRARY, I IMAGINE READING IS A BIG DEAL. TALK TO US ABOUT THAT?

KATHY HUSSER: ABSOLUTELY. ONE TO TWO MONTHS IS LOST IN READING AND MATH SKILLS. DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY PUBLISHED A STUDY SAYING THAT CHILDREN THAT PARTICIPATED IN THE PUBLIC LIBRARY READING PROGRAM DEVELOPED NOT ONLY SUSTAINABLE READING AND LEARNING THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER BUT ACHIEVED HIGHER READING SKILLS AND TEST SKILLS WHEN THEY WENT BACK TO SCHOOL. THEY WERE MORE CONFIDENT. THEY READ ABOVE THEIR GRADE LEVEL AND LOVED READING. IT WAS ABOUT MAKING IT MORE FUN THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER.

TED SIMONS: HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE BEST BOOK FOR SUMMER READING?

KATHY HUSSER: IT'S ABOUT WHAT YOU LIKE TO READ? DO YOU LIKE TO READ MYSTERIES OR NONFICTION? DO YOU LIKE TO COOK? YOU COULD READ A RECIPE. YOU COULD CHECK OUT THE LIBRARY. THERE ARE MATH PROGRAMS FOR UNDERACHIEVERS THAT HAVE NOT QUITE REACHED WHERE THEY NEED TO BE. WE GIVE THEM HELP OVER THE SUMMER. IT'S WHAT YOU LIKE TO DO.

TED SIMONS: I IMAGINE WITH READING AND THINGS YOU WANT TO STAY ACTIVE WITH OVER THE SUMMER, YOU HAVE TO MAKE SURE IT'S CHALLENGING. IT HAS TO BE EASY BUT NOT TOO MUCH. YOU HAVE TO FIND THE MAGIC MIDDLE, DON'T YOU?

DAWN GERUNDO: ABSOLUTELY. ENGAGING IN THE SUMMER PROGRAMMING LIKE GIRLS AND BOYS CLUBS AND YMCA. FINDING PROGRAMS WITH LITERACY AND MATH EMBEDDED INTO THEM SO THEY DON'T FEEL LIKE THEY ARE STUCK IN THE CLASSROOM.

TED SIMONS: OF COURSE, THEY GET ENOUGH OF THAT DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR. SO, YOU HAVE A BAG HERE.

DAWN GERUNDO: I DO. THESE ARE READINESS KITS FOR CHILDREN THREE TO FIVE TO PREPARE THEM FOR KINDERGARTEN. THEY ARE FULL OF HOME ACTIVITIES TO DO. THEY CAN DO FUN, EXCITING THINGS WITH THEIR CHILDREN. WE HEAR IS THAT THEY WANT TO DO THOSE ACTIVITIES TRANSITIONING FROM KINDERGARTEN TO FIRST GRADE.

TED SIMONS: AND YOU HAVE CRAYONS AND OTHER THINGS IN THERE AS WELL.

DAWN GERUNDO: WE HAVE CRAYONS, THREE BILINGUAL BOOKS. THE READINESS KIT IS BILINGUAL SO IF THE CHILD IS WITH A FAMILY THAT DOESN'T SPEAK ENGLISH, THEY HAVE THE ABILITY TO DO THAT AS WELL.

TED SIMONS: WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO SAY, "IT'S SUMMER." THEY GET ENOUGH ABC'S THE REST OF THE YEAR. LET THEM HAVE FUN DURING THE SUMMER.

KATHY HUSSER: THEY CAN HAVE FUN. THEY CAN HAVE FUN IN THE VALLEY AND STAY INSIDE AND BE COOL. THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH LITERACY AND MATH AND STILL HAVE FUN. YOU CAN VISIT THE PHOENIX ART MUSEUM WITH THE SUMMER CULTURE PROGRAM. THERE ARE MANY VALLEY LIBRARIES THAT PARTICIPATE WITH A LIBRARY CARD. CHECK OUT THE CULTURE PASS TO GET FREE ADMISSION. THERE IS PROGRAMMING FOR ADULTS AND FOR CHILDREN. TEMPE TUESDAYS HAVE PROGRAMS EVERY TUESDAY 2:00 TO 4:00. THERE ARE RECREATION CENTERS THAT PROVIDE A LOT OF FUN ACTIVITIES WITH THE LITERACY BASE AS WELL. THERE ARE MANY THINGS OUT THERE.

TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS TECHNOLOGY AND MATH, WHAT'S OUT THERE FOR THESE KIDS?

DAWN GERUNDO: THERE ARE MULTIPLE PROGRAMS AVAILABLE FOR CHILDREN. A LOT OF OUR FAMILIES DON'T ALWAYS HAVE THE ABILITY TO GO ONLINE AT HOME. VISITING THE LIBRARY IS A GREAT THING. CHILDREN CAN ENGAGE IN SUMMER MEALS AND HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE AT THE SCHOOL AND USE THE LIBRARY, COMPUTER LAB, THINGS LIKE THAT.

TED SIMONS: WE HAVE KIDS THAT DEPEND ON FREE AND REDUCED MEALS FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR. WHAT HAPPENS OVER THE SUMMER?

DAWN GERUNDO: THERE ARE PLENTY OF SITES, AT THE LIBRARY, AT THE SCHOOL, SERVING A FREE HOT LUNCH AND BREAKFAST FOR CHILDREN. THEY MAY ALSO PROVIDE ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN. THE KEY IS, THEY GET SOCIALIZATION. A LOT OF CHILDREN END UP STAYING HOME. THEY DON'T LEAVE THE HOUSE. GOING OUT TO GET A MEAL, ENGAGE IN ACTIVITIES AND SOCIALIZATION, YOU CAN ENSURE THEY ARE READY WHEN THEY COME BACK.

TED SIMONS: TEMPE HAS THIS GOING ON?

KATHY HUSSER: ABSOLUTELY. THEY HAVE A SUMMER LUNCH BUDDIES AT SIX OF OUR SCHOOLS. THE TEMPE LIBRARY PARTICIPATES IN THE MARICOPA COUNTY READS, THE SUMMER READING PROGRAM. YOU DON'T NEED A LIBRARY TO SIGN UP. WE WANT YOU TO VISIT ANYWAY. DEFINITELY, SIGN UP FOR THE READING PROGRAM.

TED SIMONS: YOU MENTIONED HEAT. I IMAGINE GETTING AROUND IN THE SUMMERTIME IS A BIG DEAL.

KATHY HUSSER: IT IS. THERE IS LOTS OF TRANSPORTATION. THERE IS THE BUS, THERE'S ORBIT. THE COMMUNITY OUTREACH CENTERS CAN BE UTILIZED AS WELL.

TED SIMONS: SO THERE'S NO EXCUSE.

KATHY HUSSER: THERE IS NOT.

DAWN GERUNDO: THEY CAN EVEN READ ONLINE.

TED SIMONS: GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE.

KATHY HUSSER/DAWN GERUNDO: THANK YOU SO MUCH.

TED SIMONS: TUESDAY ON "ARIZONA HORIZON," WE'LL HEAR FROM ATTORNEY TIM HOGAN, WHO IS RETIRING AFTER DECADES OF FIGHTING FOR EDUCATION FUNDING IN ARIZONA. TIM HOGAN FROM THE CENTER FOR LAW IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST, TUESDAY AT 5:30 AND 10:00 ON "ARIZONA HORIZON." THAT IS IT FOR NOW. I'M TED SIMONS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING.

Dawn Gerundo, Valley of the Sun United Way

Kathy Husser, Tempe Library

Frank Lloyd Wright House Donation

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