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Taking on Brain Drain is Always Fun with CPL’s Summer Learning Challenge

This June, more than 100,000 children ages 0-13 will leap into learning through Super Explorers!, the super hero themed 2017 Summer Learning Challenge at Chicago Public Library.

Objectively, summer is a great time to get outside, explore, recharge and (we’d lobby) a great time to let curiosity flow! But another facet of having children out of school over the summer is that many students will fall behind because they lack access to learning opportunities; losing the progress they’ve made during the school year as a result.  When we talk about Brain Drain aka Summer Slide, this is what it looks like:

  • Research shows that most students fall more than 2 months behind in math over the summer, and low-income children lose 2 to 3 months in reading achievement during the break from school.
  • Conversely, a study by Chapin Hall showed that children who participated in Chicago Public Library’s Summer Learning Challenge demonstrated 15% greater reading gains and 20% greater math gains when compared to their peers who did not participate in the program.
Summer Explorers in Chicago!
Students taking a glance at their Summer Explorer Guide!

The distinction and gap explained above is what we refer to as “Brain Drain” and what the Summer Learning Challenge targets during those critical out-of-school months.
Through hundreds of free programs, including interactive Science Technology Engineering Art and Math (STEAM) experiments, field trips, performances, and—of course—books, kids from every neighborhood in our city will engage in hands-on, superhero-themed programming all summer long.

Curious about the progress so far?

In five short years, not only has Chicago Public Library doubled the amount of children it serves, it is the largest summer program if its kind offered in all 80 library locations throughout the city and touching every neighborhood, eliminating both economic and geographic barriers that exist for Chicago kids.
In 2015, Chicago Public Library became the first-ever winner of the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) Founder’s Award in addition to becoming the first (and only) public library to win an award from NSLA.

Exploring new ways to have fun with STEAM activities at all 80 branches!

To better understand the disparity between students with structured summer activities and students left idling, we invite you to watch this short 2-minute video. Follow along on our blog over the next few weeks to learn more about the exciting aspects of the Summer Learning Challenge that are keeping kids engaged — and coming back year after year.
The Summer Learning Challenge is 100% supported by our dedicated corporate partners and individual donors (like you). Last year, Chicago Public Library Foundation donors proudly provided support that drew 102,000 kids to participate and read more than 77 million minutes — fighting off brain drain and starting school ready to learn!
To become a contributing CPL superhero and help give 100,000 Chicagoland kids an engaging summer experience – we invite to donate here.