June, July and August are vacation months for most American school children. But some young students pay a high price for that long summer break. They may forget much of what they learned over the past year by the time they start the next grade.
This problem is often called the summer learning gap. A growing effort across the country aims to deal with it by offering more interesting summer school programs. Some students already attend summer school, but often because they received poor grades during the regular school year.
STUDENT: "People need food, clothes, and other goods …"
On a recent day, students read out loud about communities in a third-grade social studies class at Bushman Elementary in Dallas, Texas. But the nine- and ten-year-olds were also studying art. Visual arts instructor Ron Oliver works to combine the two subjects.
RON OLIVER: "The kids that never get it -- like the thirty percent that always struggle on testing -- they thrive in this kind of atmosphere. Sometimes they just learn differently."
In addition to reading, the students expressed themselves in picture form by drawing community scenes.
BOY: "When I was drawing, I was expressing my feelings and showing what was happening."
GIRL: "You only use the pictures, and you use it to tell the people, the pictures telling the words for you. You don’t need words."
Their teacher Gloria Pegram has taught elementary school for fifteen years. She says art helps with memory.
GLORIA PEGRAM: "Even with math, we try to be creative with it -- it helps their retention. They remember. They say, 'Oh, yes, I remember this because ... ' and they’ll go into what we were doing, hands-on, whatever activity we were doing, to help them understand it better, and to retain it."
Ms. Pegram says students who do not take summer enrichment classes often need to relearn lessons when they return in the fall. This is especially true of low-income students. They are less likely, for example, to live near public libraries offering both books to read and special summer reading programs.
Ed Pauly is director of research and evaluation at the Wallace Foundation. The nonprofit group has invested fifty million dollars to study which programs work best to prevent summer learning loss.
ED PAULY: "And for poor kids, the loss can be as much as three months of school learning that just disappears over the course of the summer. That’s a very significant part of the achievement gap that separates kids from low-income communities from kids from more affluent communities."
ED PAULY: “对于穷学生来说，这相当于他们在夏日课程上损失了3个月的学校学习。这样很显著的成绩差距将低收入社区孩子和更富裕社区的孩子分开。”
He says one promising approach has been to include art.
ED PAULY: "We need kids to master reading and math. Arts gets them excited about being there every day. And the arts use reading and math. The arts are a great way to tie together learning experiences."
ED PAULY: “我们要让孩子们学习阅读和数学，艺术可以让他们天天都开心，艺术还使用了阅读和数学能力，在连接学习经验方面，艺术是很棒的方法。”
参考翻译：We should be brave and ambitious enough to experiment towards the opening and reform policy,getting rid of timidity and unenlightment. Be brave to try what is right in your favor. The vital lesson we learned from SZ lies in its braveness.Nothing can lead us to any good or new road or establish great career if we are not equipped with manliness, courage or the willingness to be outstanding.
Life is indeed full of problems on which we have to—or feel we should try to—make decisions, as citizens or as private individuals. But neither the real difficulty of these decisions, nor their true and disturbing challenge to each individual, can often be communicated through the mass media. The disinclination to suggest real choice, individual decision, which is to be found in the mass media, is not simply the product of a commercial desire to keep the customer happy. The organs of the Establishment, however well-intentioned they may be and whatever their form, have a vested interest in ensuring that the public boat is not violently rocked, and will so affect those who work within the mass media that they will be led insensibly towards forms of production which, though they go through the motions of dispute and enquiry, do not break through the skin to where such enquiries might really hurt.