Summer Learning

Why is Summer Learning so important?

Summer slide is the phenomenon where students lose academic skills and physical fitness over the summer. On average, students can lose two months of reading and 2.6 months of math skills each summer. Students also gain unhealthy weight up to three times faster during the summer months.

For some families, summer vacation represents an ideal time to explore parks and nature preserves, visit museums, zoos and cultural centers, volunteer, tackle creative projects, or go to camp. Children who participate in these types of activities are less likely to suffer the effects of the summer slide.

For children and young people who don’t have access to these types of activities during the summer months, MDE is committed to supporting and encouraging schools, libraries and other community organizations to provide children and families more high-quality summer opportunities.

The following learning opportunities help you make the most of the summer months!

icon - Library card

Check Out your Local Library
In Minnesota, nearly every public library offers a summer learning program for kids. While it varies from library to library, most summer programs consist of two components: a fun way to track self-guided reading -- sometimes even earning incentives -- and tons of free and fun educational activities. Check with your local library to learn more about what they have to offer. Not sure where your local public library is? Please contact Jen Verbrugge and she’ll happily help you find it.

Icon - Math green

Math Resources
The Summer Math Challenge is over, but the program's site still offers fun math activities and resources for students who have completed grades 1-8. Keep learning at home to build on skills learned in the classroom. Visit the Math@Home site to learn more.

Icon - Reading green

Reading Throughout the Year
To keep Minnesota kids learning throughout the school year, visit Find a Book, Minnesota to find exciting and fun challenges to help students retain the reading skills they learn in school. The program offers free, self-directed opportunities that families and students can enjoy. Once on the MetaMetrics® site:

  1. Enter your child's Lexile measure or grade level (instructions are found on the Find a Book, Minnesota site).
  2. Help your child select categories of interest.
  3. View and refine your search results.
  4. Add books to your child's reading list and check them out at your local library.
Icon - STEM green

STEM of Minnesota Opportunities
The Minnesota Department of Education is proud to team up with STEM of Minnesota to help provide a detailed list of STEM opportunities for students at every grade level. Search for events, internships, programs, and opportunities by region, grade level, program type or topics. Visit the STEM of Minnesota website for a list of opportunities and other STEM resources.

Icon - Learning Center green

21st Century Community Learning Centers 
Community learning centers are created by partnerships between schools and community organizations to offer enrichment activities to students before or after school or over summer break. To view a list of participating schools and communities and find contact information for how to participate. Check the current 21st Century Community Learning Centers Cohort lists for descriptions, locations and contact information.

Icon - Art green

Summer Arts Experiences
The Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA) smARTpass program is a great way to keep kids learning! This project offers metro area library users free or discounted admission to a range of Twin Cities museums and performances. From the Hennepin History Museum to the Ordway, library card holders of all ages can experience the best of the Twin Cities’ arts and cultural scene.