Below is a message from the Superintendent of the Illinois State Board of Education... he offers some tips and resources to make sure your children keep their brains engaged over the summer months:

The school year has ended, but that doesn’t mean learning should. We know it is important that children continue to exercise their brains over the summer to prevent the loss of critical learning gains, also called the “summer slide.” We encourage children and families to incorporate summer reading and learning into their activities in the months ahead. Children who keep their brains active and engaged during summer vacation are more likely to return in the fall confident and prepared for the new school year.

There are ample opportunities for continued learning over the summer. If you are looking for summer resources to share with families and students, you may consider starting with these tip sheets:

The Summer Food Service Program serves free, nutritious meals and snacks to children and teens age 18 and younger. Interested families can call (800) 359-2163, text “FoodIL” or “ComidasIL” to 877-877, or visit

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) offers tools to jump-start summer learning on our Summer Learning Program page. Children and families can select books based on a child’s interests and Lexile measure by using the online search tool Find a Book, Illinois. Illinois Reads also shares a list of recommended 2017 children’s titles. The Summer Math Challenge is designed to help children retain math skills learned during the previous school year. Families who enroll their children will receive daily emails with fun activities and links to educational resources. Families can take advantage of the summer weather by spending time outside exploring the plants and animals in their communities. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) provides fun learning activities on their Kids for Conservation webpage. The June edition of Kids for Conservation features Illinois perches and the July topic will be poison ivy. Children and families can learn basic facts about these species in the information section, watch the video podcast, and take a quiz to test their knowledge.

~Tony Smith, Ph.D.

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