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Summer Learning, Fun And Fundamental

Photo by Tommy Wong. Thought bubble added by Tennessee Watson with use under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

School’s out for summer across Wyoming, but the state Department of Education is offering two free learning initiatives designed to help kids keep up math and reading skills over summer break.

Find a Book Wyoming helps students create custom reading lists to suit their abilities and interests, and set goals for the summer. Barb Marquer from the Wyoming Department of Education, said she doesn’t want kids to consider this school work.  

“The fun part about summer is that’s the time that you actually can read the books that you want to read and enjoy them,” said Marquer. “It’s really kind of neat because there are over 273,000 books that grades one through twelve can access.”

Books in English and Spanish are available online, and for kids who prefer a hard copy the program will indicate if the book is available at the local library.  

While these programs are fun according to Marquer, they are designed to prevent "summer learning loss." The WDE hopes to help kids hold onto to skills and knowledge they’ve worked hard to learn during the previous academic year.

“There’s been a lot of research on summer loss,” Marquer said, “and it’s been well documented that math is even bigger than with reading.”

That’s why the WDE is also promoting The Summer Math Challenge. Marquer said it takes kids less than 10 minutes to earn a badge for practicing a skill. Families who enroll receive daily emails with activities and can customize learning outcomes to help kids hold onto to recently acquired math skills.

For more information contact the Wyoming Department of Education.

Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-producing Wage/Working (a jukebox-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.

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