By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In the old days, summer vacation would be a time when kids would put the books away and play.

But as concern about school performance and testing has grown and there has been a growing trend toward schools either assigning or recommending summer homework.

Experts in education said students lose an average of two to three months of what they learned over the summer. And, studies show that for low-income children the drop off is often greater because their families may not have the resources, or time to encourage reading or math.

That’s why schools across the nation are putting together summer programs.

At Deephaven Elementary, the principal has set up a “challenge” for students over the summer for the past seven years.

It’s a math, reading and writing program that’s been a big success.

At first, children weren’t sure. Fourth-grader Harry Koeppen said, “Some of them were like, ‘Oh, homework in the summer.'”

But last year, one-third of all kids at Deephaven Elementary completed the three-part Summer Reading, Writing and Math challenge. Students and parents are given this calendar and log their daily work.

Fourth-grader Brooks Carver said, “Reading — I think it’s like 20 minutes a day.”

The reading goal is 1,500 minutes, the writing goal is two stories per month, and the math goal is 50 days at five minutes a day.

Principal Bryan McGinley said it’s the daily work that pays off.

“The idea of doing it every day is more important I believe, than say, a week out of your summer,” he said.

Kids that complete the challenge get taken out to lunch, and get coupons for the school book fair.

“The goal is to stave off that summer learning loss,” McGinley said.

Interested in seeing on of the summer challenge calendars? Click here.


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