I can barely do math anymore. I blame my iPhone.

Okay, maybe I’m also to blame. I should probably try to brush up on my math skills. Maybe next year, though. I’m already in graduate school and have more reading than I know what to do with. In the meantime, I’ll keep leaning on my pocket calculator.

Turns out, though, I’m not alone in this mental atrophy. Even school-aged children suffer a loss of retention in the few summer weeks when they’re not in class.

While kids are excited about school being out, teachers are worried about everything they’re going to have to re-teach at the beginning of the fall semester.

Research shows that math and reading skills take the worst hits for students over the summer. The brunt of this burden is carried by children and families who are low-income because they have less time and money for educational programming over the summer.

By the time these children reach ninth grade they’re on the losing end of a gap in reading comprehension compared to their more affluent peers. Researchers now attribute two-thirds of that gap to this summer brain drain phenomenon, sometimes called the “summer slide.”

Clearly, this summer slide is creating some big problems. But, as we know, summer camps and programs are expensive. It can be hard as a parent to know how to hang on to the knowledge your child worked hard for over the school year without breaking the budget.

I have good news. Pikes Peak Library District has a two-month-long program available to anyone, from infants to 18 year olds. All you need to participate is a library card.

“Summer Adventure: A Universe of Stories,” PPLD’s summer reading program presented by Children’s Hospital, runs from June 1 to July 31. Participants can either read to complete the whole program or do a combination of reading and library-hosted programs and activities. See space science in action at Palmer Lake Library with the United States Air Force Academy, or head to Monument Library to experiment with ice and states of matter. There are also arts-and-crafts opportunities throughout the summer at both locations, including making galaxy art and glow-in-the-dark paintings. We’ll host district-wide parties at the beginning and end of the program. Our Summer Adventure game card even gives you age-appropriate activity ideas to do with your child throughout the summer.

Research shows that students with high levels of attendance in a voluntary summer learning program successfully retain much of their prior-school-year knowledge. Help your kid, tween or teen stay active and engaged this summer, and they’ll be better prepared for school this fall. We can’t wait to go on this adventure with you! Learn more at ppld.org/summer-adventure.

Kayah Swanson is the public relations specialist at Pikes Peak Library District. She’s a former journalist turned nonprofit communicator. Reach Kayah with any questions at kswanson@ppld.org.

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