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Kern County takes action against summer learning loss, encourages reading initiatives for students

According to the results of the 2021 - 2022 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), almost 40% (37.55) of students did not meet the English language arts standards.
Posted: 4:42 PM, Jul 20, 2023
Updated: 2023-07-20 20:43:41-04
Kern County Library (FILE)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — A library has thousands of books to choose from. Books that have the potential to not only expand your imagination but your literacy skills as well. At the Beale Memorial Library, a summer reading challenge encourages kids to read. Ian Anderson, with the Kern Literacy Council, says programs like this have the potential to eliminate the risks of summer learning loss in the future.

“There are negative things attached to it but if we bring those interventions in now, provide reading material at a young age, teaching, you know, families how to enjoy just the love of having a book in their home and encouraging that kids can do so much.”

According to the results of the 2021 - 2022 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), almost 40% (37.55) of students did not meet the English language arts standards, and roughly 53% (53.27) did not meet the mathematic requirements.

Anderson says part of the reason for these numbers is how the pandemic impacted the education system.

“Not being able to have access the professionals being in the classroom — i think that really impacted the student, but then there's also the fact that if its not in front of you, you’re probably not going to be using it and so that little, tiny gap in the summer can cause kids to backslide.”

Anderson says ending the cycle of summer learning loss starts in communities. Something that Josie Beets, the senior vice president at United Through Reading agrees with.

“We know that reading and literacy are the foundation of so much learning that it’s important that kids read over the summer to keep that information they’ve learned in school. It's just like exercising you got to work that muscle you got to keep reading.”

Beets says students who forget materials in one summer are more likely to forget materials in future school years, which is why the time to act is now. By simply reading six books in one summer, she says students are less prone to backsliding in the school year.

But Beets says kids don’t necessarily have to start reading novels or chapter books to stay on track. She says it's all about listening to your child.

“I have an 11-year-old. He’s not a big reader. We read a lot of graphic novels in this house, and they are really great ways of learning to read in little bits and to build confidence.”

Anderson says there is only so much teachers can do to engage their children better and says the key to ending summer learning loss in children is by parents taking initiative.

“Being an active participant in your child’s education allows you to really understand the needs of your child and also how you can advocate for them with the school system, so it’s very much a partnership between the parents and the schools.”

Andersen says as important as it is to keep kids academically engaged during the summer, it is important to lead by example. This could be bringing more books into the home, showing an interest in reading, or signing your kids up for camps based on their interests.


Helping to improve student literacy in Kern County has been an ongoing fight by local educators for a while now. 23ABC took an in-depth look at the latest data from the National Center for Education.

Since 2014 test scores show that only 33 percent of Kern County students met or exceeded the state standard. This number increases slightly each year peaking at 43 percent during the 2018-19 school year.

However, due to the pandemic testing was suspended in 2020 so there is no data for that year.

In 2021, Kern students had dropped back down to 39 percent in meeting testing standards. And over the past couple of years English learners in Kern County schools have tested the lowest.