Summer Learning Challenge Makes Summer Learning Fun

June 23, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) is challenging children statewide to keep their academic skills sharp during the summer break through the Summer Learning Program: The Summer Reading Challenge and the Summer Math Challenge.

Summer officially began on June 21. However, for most West Virginia schoolchildren, the first day of summer started weeks ago with the close of the school year. Now that the school year is behind them, the summer months away from school can result in a loss of knowledge and reading ability.

The WVDE's Summer Learning Program raises awareness of the summer loss epidemic and provides access to a variety of free resources to help children improve their reading abilities and practice their math skills. Teachers and parents can support summer learning by helping children find books and math problems tailored to their own interests.

"Reading well and being able to do basic math are two of the most important skills a child needs to learn," said State Superintendent Jim Phares. "Yet research tells us that when children don't continue to read and do math over the summer, they are likely to lose crucial ground. One summer off can sometimes mean a whole school year of struggling academic performance. We cannot allow that to happen."

The WVDE created a webpage specifically for the Summer Learning Program which includes free math and reading resources at Included on the webpage is a link to a database with a free online search tool dubbed Find a Book, West Virginia. Teachers, parents and older students can use this tool to build custom reading lists.

The database also allows students to locate books that best complement each student's reading ability based on Lexile measures. A Lexile measure represents both a child's reading ability and the difficulty of a text, like a book or magazine article. To access the search tool directly, visit

The Summer Learning Program provides links to other summer resources including the Learn21 website,, which hosts a collection of engaging resources, including reading and math materials, for students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12. By clicking on the appropriate grade level listed on the Learn21 webpage, children can begin to learn while they play.

Other summer programs also are available that allow children to earn free books or other prizes when they log their reading. Check out these sites:

Math resources include:

For more information, contact the Communication Office at (304) 558-2699.

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