Cabell County Student Empowerment Team Executive Director Ellenda Ward penned a summer learning op-ed for July 12th  edition of The Herald-Dispatch.


It is the lazy, hazy days of summer. School is out; however, that doesn’t mean learning has to stop. I encourage you to find unique ways to share learning experiences with a child.

For example, children like to use their creativity to please others. As adults, we have wonderful opportunities to share our talents and expertise to introduce them to new or different learning experiences during summer vacation. Are you passionate about your hobby? If possible, find ways to scale hobby projects to age appropriate situations with children this summer.

My grandson, Declan Ward, age 6, enjoys sharing my scrapbooking hobby. We recently spent two afternoons where he designed Father’s Day cards for his dad and grandfathers. I had gathered a variety of papers, stickers, washi tape, letters, crayons and tools for him to use for his three cards. I gave him suggestions, but he made all of the choices and designed each card with each person in mind. During the two-hour sessions each day, he was reinforcing his skills mastered in kindergarten by learning how to spell his sentiments, focus on printing, fold paper, measure, use scrapbook cutting tools and coloring skills. At the end of each session, he had been introduced to many techniques I enjoy using. Most of all, the learning experiences provided an opportunity for us to share special time together.

In many cases, most students lose at least two months of their mathematical skills every summer. Summer is especially critical for the most vulnerable students in our community. This group includes children who receive special education services and those who live in poverty. According to a study by John Hopkins University, “Summer learning loss during elementary school accounts for two-thirds of the achievement GAP IN READING between low-income children and their middle-income peers by ninth grade.”

July 12 is the Day of Summer Learning, and the Cabell County Student Empowerment Team (CCSET) and the Cabell County Family Resource Network (Cabell County FRN) are promoting resources and information to keep children engaged in learning all summer long.

How can you provide summer learning opportunities for the children in your life? The National Summer Learning Association has a variety of resources to help parents, caregivers and others prevent summer learning loss:

1. Read at home every day. Help your children choose books that interest them, set reading goals and even start a family book club.

2. Write in a summer journal. Keeping a journal is thrilling to all of the little writers and readers in your household. Even if your child isn’t interested in keeping a journal, encourage him or her to write about the books they’re reading, their summer activities and other happenings in their lives.

3. Go to a local library. In addition to checking out physical and digital books, the Cabell County Public Library hosts several children’s events where your child can create and learn something new. Learn more at

4. Look for free or low-cost activities in your community. The Cabell County Family Resource Network’s Pathways to Summer Fun resource guide provides several free and low-cost summer camps, activities and events for local children. Download the full list at

5. Plant a garden. Start a simple vegetable or fresh herb garden on a windowsill in your house or outside in the backyard. This encourages responsibility and healthy eating.

6. Use counting skills in daily activities. Ask your child to count ingredients in your dinner recipe and calculate coupon discounts at the grocery store. This helps to keep math skills sharp over the summer.

7. Volunteer together. Cabell County has several volunteering opportunities, whether it’s spending time helping others at a nonprofit or doing something with your religious organization. Learn more at

8. Don’t forget to be active. Don’t just stay indoors this summer, and give those digital devices a break. Go on a walk with your child, take a bike ride and visit one of the Greater Huntington Parks and Recreations parks near you.

9. Get creative. Just like I stated before, encourage your child or grandchild to get creative. Get some good ideas at

As parents and caregivers, it’s our responsibility to help our children continue to learn every summer. Give your child a head start for the coming school year.

To learn more about the Day of the Summer Learning and the National Summer Learning Association, visit To learn more about CCSET and the Cabell County FRN, visit and


Ellenda Ward is director of the Cabell County Student Empowerment Team, an initiative of the Cabell County Family Resource Network.


Source: Read it here!

ARTICLE: Op-Ed Encourage your children to continue learning this summer