RI Reads: Tips for Encouraging Summer Learning

Children can fall behind during the summer months when they don't have opportunities to learn and grow. They may come back to school in September and need to catch up to their classmates who have had those opportunities. Here are ways that you can help children learn during the summer!
Summer Learning Programs in Rhode Island 

United Way's Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative offers children ages 5-18 opportunities to learn through hands-on experiences over the course of a six-week program. Summer 2017 programs include three that serve children entering 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade. 
  • Connecting for Children and Families (Woonsocket) Contact: Kaleigh Perkins, kperkins@ccfcenter.org 
  • North Kingstown School Department (North Kingstown) Contact: Cindy Bowe cindy_bowe@nksd.net 
  • Tower Street School Community Center (Westerly) 
    Contact: Angela Nobile anobile@westerly.k12.ri.us 

Explore this map to find hundreds of afterschool and summer learning programs for children and youth between the ages of 5-18. Programs offer a range of activities - arts, environmental education, STEM, and more.

Join United Way of Rhode Island for a Summer Learning Appreciation Event on July 13!

Please join United Way of Rhode Island for a Summer Learning Appreciation Event to celebrate National Summer Learning Day! Come learn about the importance of summer learning programs across the state that promote academic, social-emotional, wellness, and citizenship skills for thousands of Rhode Island youth. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017
5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. 
Aurora Providence
276 Westminster Street
Providence, RI

During the summer, students may lose up to two months of math and reading skills - but they don't need to. Last year, students who participated in the Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative averaged gains of 30 percent in math and 22 percent in literacy. Rhode Island's future learns today, tomorrow, and all summer long.

Summer Fun at the Library 

Visit your local public library this summer to discover new books and attend presentations by summer reading program educators and artists. A list of planned children's activities and performances in each library in the state is available here, or you can search by program here.

For example, if your child is interested in reptiles, you can attend Ray Ward's Bwana Iguana Reptile Adventure Program which is scheduled for 19 library branches, from Olneyville to Tiverton, with times ranging from morning to afternoon to evening. 

Many local libraries also offer museum discount passes to educational sites like Roger Williams Park and Zoo, the Providence Children's Museum, and the RISD Museum of Art. You can even borrow discount passes for a trip to Boston to the Museum of Science or the New England Aquarium! See the list available from the Providence Community Library, and check your local library.

Jabari Jumps at National Book Festival

Jabari Jumps is the Rhode Island submission for the National Book Festival in Washington DC on September 2, 2017. Congratulations to author/illustrator Gaia Cornwall, a Providence resident!  

Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He's finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he's a great jumper, so he's not scared at all. "Looks easy," says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can't help but root for.

Beach Reads for Young Children

Here are some books you might find at the library to read with your kids this summer! 
  • Down by the Bay by Raffi (Ages birth - 7): Very young children will find this classic book both entertaining and instructive in early language skills such as rhyme, rhythm, and repetition, and will delight in hearing it read or sung aloud to them.
  • Stella, Star of the Sea by Mary-Louise Gay (Ages 2-4): Stella and her little brother are spending the day at the sea. Stella has been to the sea before and knows all its secrets, but Sam has many questions. "Where do starfish come from? Does a catfish purr? Does a sea horse gallop?" Stella has an answer for them all. The only thing she isn't sure of is whether Sam will ever come into the water.
  • The Bear's Vacation by Stan and Jan Berenstain (Ages 3-7): A classic! "Hooray! Hooray! We're on our way! Our summer vacation starts today!" School's out, and the Bear family is ready for a vacation at the beach. Whether the Bears are sailing, swimming, surfing, snorkeling, or having a run-in with an angry whale, Father Bear certainly knows how to find trouble.
  • Welsandia by Paul Fleischman (Ages 4-9): What do the children you know usually do when school is out for the summer? Go crazy with boredom? Head poolside with friends? Plan a self-sufficient civilization with its own staple food crop? That is precisely how Wesley, a young non-conformist boy, decides to spend his summer vacation.  
  • Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach by James Dean (Ages 4-8): Pete the Cat is one groovy cat at finding shells and building sand castles at the beach. But when it gets too hot, there's only one way to cool off - jump into the ocean! Except Pete might be a scaredy cat when it comes to the water. A popular beginning reader book series, Pete the Cat books are good for children transitioning to independent reading.