Thoughtful Parenting: Rural students experience summer learning loss; programs offer a chance to catch up

Jennifer Bruen
Thoughtful Parenting

The last day of school is quickly approaching, and Routt County families are looking forward to summer vacation.

But what do experts say about summer learning loss in rural communities and its cumulative impact? According to the Northwest Education Association, rural communities offer less summer educational programming than non-rural communities, creating cumulative education loss.

For years, educators have debated summer learning loss, but they unanimously agree summer provides an opportunity to improve a child’s education.

Scholastic states the number of U.S. children ages 9 to 11 who do not read books over the summer has doubled since 2016 — 7% to 14% — likely due to a lack of in-person summer programming during the pandemic.

This summer, Routt County families will look for summer learning environments to recoup learning loss in their children due to the pandemic.

StoryWalk, a deconstructed children’s book along the core trail, provides a great opportunity for children to engage in physical activity and literacy. To learn more, contact Youth Services Librarian Jamie Collins at or 970-879-0240 ext. 314

Summer reading programs complement the school year and are often critical for disadvantaged children, filling significant achievement gaps.

Public libraries’ summer reading programs offer well-established, free reading assistance and activities that encourage children to be lifelong readers, extending learning well past the summer months. Contact your nearest public library to learn more about this summer’s reading program.

Summer reading programs

Bud Werner Memorial Library

Starting in early June

1289 Lincoln Ave. Steamboat Springs


Hayden Public Library

Starts May 31

201 E. Jefferson Ave., Hayden


Oak Creek Public Library

Thursdays 9-10 a.m. beginning June 9

117 Main St., Oak Creek


Yampa Public Library

Thursdays 11 a.m. to noon starting June 9

116 Main St., Yampa


Learning and Literacy Apps:

Free Apps like Small Wonders, Photo Play, and Animal Antics are great alternatives to playing video games. To learn more, visit

Dolly Parton Imagination Library

Free books for children from birth to 5 years old. For more,

Enjoy your summer break while encouraging your child’s love of reading.

Jennifer Bruen is the community impact coordinator for Routt County United Way.

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