Children spend nearly triple the time playing video games or watching TV than they do reading during the summer ...

To the Editor:

Children spend nearly triple the time playing video games or watching TV than they do reading during the summer, according to the results of a survey conducted by Reading is Fundamental that was recently released.

Research shows that summer learning loss is a major problem, particularly for low-income children who can lose up to three months of reading skills because of limited access to books and learning opportunities while out of school.

While summer learning is important for all children, lack of summer learning opportunities for low-income children is a missed opportunity to support grade-level reading. More than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities, according to research done by Johns Hopkins University.

Summer learning programs are a cost-effective strategy for boosting school-year achievement, including reading and math.

The BASE Program at Bunsold Middle School recently concluded a three-week long STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) summer camp, in which interesting, collaborative projects were embedded with reading and math lessons.

Marysville Schools SACC Summer Day Camp has consciously incorporated literacy and math into weekly themes and activities. Campers have opportunities to engage in a constant flow of activities that prevent summer slide, from studying other cultures to developing rules for new games to writing letters to community members or Disney characters. SACC has also partnered with Kym Jarvis of Anything Goes For Dogs to bring trained therapy dogs into the camp program to "listen" to campers read.

Too many Ohio children and youth lack access to safe and enriching summer learning programs; according to the America After 3 report, 786,014 Ohio children (50 percent) are not enrolled in a summer learning program, but would like to be.

As a member of the Ohio Afterschool Network, I believe in the importance of ensuring that all Ohio children and youth have access to high-quality summer programs.

Summer programs really do make a difference in our students' lives and provide them with tools they need to be successful in school. That's why our schools are doing what it takes to ensure the resources for these vital programs continue.

Nichelle Harris
SACC and BASE director
Marysville Exempted Village Schools