Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Summer Experience fills learning gap

by on June 30, 2014 10:55 AM

Over the summer, children commonly experience summer learning loss — forgetting what they learned during the previous school year during the long vacation.

Through the Summer Experience program, part of The Indiana Gazette’s Newspaper in Education program, children have the opportunity to prevent summer learning loss by completing activities found in the newspaper and online.

These activities are important so kids “don’t lose any of the knowledge they’ve gained throughout the school year,” said Hastie Kinter, coordinator of the Gazette’s NIE program. “It reinforces some of the skills they’ve learned and helps them be better prepared for the grade they’re going into.”

Activities will be printed in the newspaper and posted on www.indianagazette. com on Tuesdays and Saturdays beginning Saturday and ending Aug. 2. Area students entering kindergarten through 12th grade in the fall are eligible to participate. Activities will be labeled by grade level, with kindergarten through grade 3 at Level A; grades 4 through 6 at Level B; and grades 7 to 12 at Level C.

The activities are fun, and they’re in correlation this year with a theme dubbed by the National Library Association as “Fizz, Boom, Read,” geared mainly toward science.

Those participating are required to complete any five of the nine activities published and submit them with the entry form found today on Page 7 or online at ence.

T-shirts will be awarded to those who complete the required five activities, and those students will have their photo taken outside The Indiana Gazette — a photo that will run in the newspaper at the conclusion of the program.

Throughout the summer, the Indiana Free Library will offer programs in correlation with “Fizz, Boom, Read.” The library’s program continues through July 26.

Participants, according to the library’s website, have the chance to try activities such as science experiments, robot building, “Grossology” fun and nature explorations. All of the activities are part of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum.

Each week’s programs at the library have a different theme. This week’s is “It’s Alive!”; the week of July 7 is “RU-Curious?”; July 13, “Fizz, Boom, Pop!”; and July 21, “Kitchen Chemistry.”

Throughout each week, programs are offered at different times for different age groups. Programs for toddlers are held beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Mondays, with stories, songs and activities introducing basic science themes. On Tuesdays, the library’s family program explores the wonders of science through presentations, demonstrations and hands-on projects. Also on Tuesdays, a teen summer reading program begins at 3 p.m. Students can observe, predict and perform experiments each week at 10:30 a.m. on Thursdays with an Intro to the Scientific Method, for ages 8 and older.

For more information about the NIE Summer Experience program, call (724) 465-5555 or visit

Ellen Matis is the digital media coordinator and a staff writer at The Indiana Gazette. She is the person behind the Gazette's social media. A 2012 graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Ellen has a degree in journalism and public relations. Follow her on Twitter, @EllenMatis, or email her at
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