Madison County fights summer learning loss with free resources


The book may be closed on this school year, but one should be open in your child’s hand this summer!

Summer learning loss, known as the “summer slide,” can reportedly put your child two years behind in reading by the fifth grade if your family is low-income.

There are a lot of free resources in Madison County to make sure your kid doesn’t fall behind in their education while they’re soaking up the sun. Studies show nine out of 10 teachers use three weeks to reteach what they’ve already taught.

“You really see a difference in the kids who are, I call them ‘book babies’, said Mandy Pinyan, outreach manager with the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library. “Their vocabulary skills are so much stronger, they’re a lot more interactive with the world around them.”

Madison County’s public libraries are fighting summer learning loss, which has been named as one of the biggest reasons for underachievement in schools.

Research shows kids lose two months in reading and math skills over the summer and the summer slide accounts for two-thirds of the achievement gap in reading between elementary students from low-income and middle-income families. That’s according to the National Summer Learning Association

Pinyan makes technology and reading fun in a space where kids don’t have to worry about tests.

“During the summer I tell the kids, ‘Forget this, just forget that!'” she said about tests. “If you see a book on space aliens and it looks great, pick it up and read it!'”

“We came today to pick up some of our summer reading books so we can practice on reading,” said Madison County Parent Michelle Parmley. “He’s got first grade this year so we wanna make sure we’re ready.”

Pinyan says learning doesn’t have to mean hitting the library.

“It could be a sign on the road,” she said. “It could be something they see in the grocery store, words! Make the best of the time that you’re with your kids to point out new words, point out new things, talk about these things. Because these are literacy moments even if you don’t know that they are.”

Check out what camps and resources your school district offers during the summer and see the links below.

Huntsville City Schools summer reading program

Madison City Schools summer reading program

Moores Mill Intermediate School summer reading program

Summer Adventures in Learning (SAIL) 

Tips on preventing summer learning loss:

Children’s Literacy Initiative

U.S. Department of Education

Related stories:

Huntsville Hospital promotes literacy with newborn book program

Huntsville City Schools gears up for summer feeding program


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