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Summer programs tackle summer learning loss

The library and school system offer many ways to keep a student minds active this summer.
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The average student loses about two and a half months worth of grade level equivalency during the summer months. United States’ schools rank 25th in math and 14th in reading among industrialized countries. In Grand Rapids, prgorams are being offered throughout the summer to help fight summer learning loss.

The LOOP summer school program, at 35 school sites, is an afterschool program which offers after school tutoring and homework assistance as well as arts and cultural activities. Programs are offered 32 weeks during the school year for two to three hours a day, five days a week.

The Grand Rapids Academic Summer Program (GRASP) is also provided. "The GRASP program is a nine-week correspondence summer program written by Grand Rapids Public Schools staff in math and reading," says John Helmholdt, the Director of Communications & External Affairs for Grand Rapids Public Schools. "It is designed for children who have completed grades K-8. Children receive a packet of materials for the nine weeks of summer, and mail in a lesson a week. The lessons are scored, results recorded and lessons returned to the children.”

An online version of GRASP is available for children in 4th through 8th grade.

There are events orchestrated by the Grand Rapids Public Library to help keep a student’s mind active. Various library locations will be providing musical storytellers, the Create a Dream Writing Contest, a puppet show and the band WaZoBia.

The library is also offering summer activities for teenagers. A special exhibit of nocturnal animals is being shown at various branches of the library from now through July. There will also be a Lego Robotics demonstration, a henna tattoo workshop and a talent show in August.

The library is hosting GR Reads, a program for adults to read 10 selected books and get a chance to visit the authors at the library. The focus of the 10 books selected will be what happens when a person, event or experience comes into a person’s life and what change occurs because of it. Many authors from the selected texts have visited. The next author to visit will be Michael Moore on the 26th of July.

“Interacting with your kids makes a huge difference. Schedule time every day to read together, or draw, or do crafts, or play a sport or just talk. Try something new every day. That interaction between parent and child is so important, they will feel valued and special, and will actually learn something in a comfortable, casual manner," says the GRPL Youth Services Provider Sarah McCarville.

"I love to hear parents having actual conversations with their children that helps increase vocabulary and gives them practice in social situations, as well as opening up their little minds to new things."

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