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When school’s out, reading scores go down. Can we fight summer learning loss?

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A TED attendee writes on EverFi's visual brainstorm board. Photo: Bret Hartman

A TED attendee writes on EverFi’s visual brainstorm board. Photo: Bret Hartman

By Janet Lee

In Geoffrey Canada’s impassioned TED Talk last year, he urged the American education system to update its business model to integrate more science and technology into the curriculum, particularly for lower-income communities. One study that especially troubled Canada showed that lower income students are more prone to losing the knowledge they’ve acquired through the school year because of a lack of access to summer school programs.

So how can we stop this so-called “summer slide?”

Yesterday, the EverFi Learning Lab announced its newest initiative, Verano – Summer Learning, slated to roll out to over 200 communities in 2015. This technology was developed to help counter the challenge of summer learning loss through interactive games that promote critical thinking skills. Verano will not be your run-of-the-mill summer tutor. The digital learning experience is designed to be fun, serving knowledge in bite-sized chunks so that they’ll be retained in the minds of students.

Anyone can use it, but it’s especially intended for low-income K-12 students. Topics include basic literacy and math reinforcement, but would also key life skills that students may not have exposure to otherwise including digital citizenship, civic education, STEM readiness and financial wellness.

Throughout the week, the EverFi Learning Lab space invites the TED community to partake in visual brainstorm around questions like, “What do you wish you had learned in school?” and “What are the critical skills young people need to learn today?” Answers up so far have ranged from coding, learning the basics of tax-filing, and even developing stronger EQ. Attendees can also partake in an interactive quiz that results in pairing them with a school in the U.S. that they can receive email updates from. These emails will help them track the progress of the critical skills students are building in that community.

“Summer learning loss is the great open space of education,” says Tom Davidson, EverFi’s CEO. “To close the widening achievement gap, we must close the summer engagement gap. The only options cannot be poorly funded remediation programs or pure entertainment. We launched EverFi at TED six years ago, and we return to this community to champion and fill this open space with real learning.”

For more information on EverFi Inc, visit

The completed visualization board. Photo: Bret Hartman

The completed visualization board. Photo: Bret Hartman