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Combating STEM Summer Learning Loss with Reading

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With summer comes beaches, barbeques, and a break from school. Without school, the access to reading opportunities declines, along with the opportunity to maintain the loads of information learned throughout the school year.

Be sure to check out the details of our buy-two-get-a-third-free summer special below!

The Summer Reading Slide

As children get older, their learning gain decreases, while their loss remains constant during the summers. This “summer slide” compounds over time—students who lose knowledge over the summer start school behind their peers who engaged in summer reading and STEM and are unlikely to catch up over the course of the school year; as the next summer break begins, the cycle continues. A large-scale research experiment done by Megan Kuhfeld of NWEA showed that the “summer slide” not only increases over time, but that it affects children of every demographic and race. (Source: Edweek)

The real determinant of how well information will be retained during the summer is the child’s proximity to learning materials and enrichment opportunities, such as summer camps, book clubs, and more. So, even though students lost the same amount of information during the summer, those who keep their brains active bounce-back faster once the break ends. This bounce-back is the cornerstone of their upcoming school year and signifies the real divide between students.

Summer Learning Loss and STEM

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The biggest gap in this “summer slide” occurs in science and math fields, and the lack of summer STEM opportunities is most prevalent in lower socioeconomic communities, which are, unfortunately, made up of mostly Black and Latinx children.

Because of this, it is extremely important to provide numerous STEM opportunities for students who wouldn’t regularly come into contact with it during their months away from school. Whether it be LaundryCares’ free laundry days where parents can clean clothes for free while their children read stories and do activities with librarians in a local laundromat, or simply having access to engaging STEM books, these opportunities are essential to level the academic playing field.

According to Amy Koester, a Youth & Family Program Coordinator who is an advocate for early STEM programs, “URM (underrepresented minority) students are less likely to have adequate and consistent STEM instruction, especially early in their educations.” (Source:

A change like early and reliable access to relatable STEM materials can change the educational path of a student significantly, and influence the statistics of URM STEM students switching majors away from the sciences during their college years.

STEM Books for Summer Reading

Science Naturally works hard to make STEM books available to early readers throughout the world. With titles in multiple languages and partnerships with outreach programs across the country, our publishing house is pushing out books to engage every kind of reader in STEM.

For readers who shy away from science, we have a couple of blended STEM fiction chapter books that incorporate STEM lessons into a traditional narrative:

Leonard da Vinci gets a do-over combating summer learning loss reading STEM book recommendations literacy child children

After being dead for nearly 500 years, the great Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci is back!

Readers tag along as 7th graders Max, Tad, and Gina become the reincarnated da Vinci's ambassadors of the modern age—and learn about history, art, anatomy, and STEM topics along the way. Inventive and fast-paced, this story is as engaging as it is educational.

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John Hawkins is in yet another new school as he begins the 7th grade. Things change when his passion for robotics lands him an invitation to be a part of a secret club. John joins Malena, Natsumi, Hector, and Kimmey as the newest member of the League of Scientists.

Together, these friends pool their knowledge of biology, technology, logic, and chemistry to unravel the mysteries that haunt their quiet town of East Rapids. The League is in a race to solve the secret of the ghost who is terrorizing the middle school pool.

Summer STEM Book for Young Scientists

We even have options for the youngest scientists:

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Discover the power of curiosity and resilience with a conversation between a spunky young protagonist, who asks questions about the world around her, and a scientifically astute narrator, whose answers are crafted to be both accurate and understandable to a young mind.

In this way, learning the basics of biology, chemistry, and physics becomes an effortless outcome of enjoying the story.

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Follow Pete the Proton, Ned the Neutron, and Ellie the Electron, who get together to build everything in the universe. Explore some of the fundamental concepts in science with your children before they face the social pressure and intimidation of formal schooling.

Looking to make learning fun? Our One Minute Mystery books are full of short brainteasers that can only be solved with math or science:

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Not your ordinary science book, these mysteries make science fun! Try your hand at dozens of science mysteries (with solutions included) that will keep you entertained--and eager to learn more!

No tools or special equipment required, all you need is a willingness to have fun.

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The mysteries are back!

“For those who loved the Encyclopedia Brown mysteries, these books harken back to them, though in a shorter format. Kids with inquisitive minds, interest in understanding how things work, or enjoyment of puzzles will be drawn to these quirky stories. An excellent narrative format for learning about nature and how things work!"

–Ryan McAllister, Ph.D.,

Also available in a bilingual English/Spanish edition.

short mysteries you solve with math stem summer learning loss platypus media children book recommendations

The brainteasers are entertaining, but-even better-their real-world connections help kids see math concepts as approachable, learnable, and solvable. A fun way to develop deductive reasoning skills and discover the joys of math!

Also available in a bilingual English/Spanish edition.

Want to preview a few of these mysteries? Check out our Mystery of the Month.

Beautifully illustrated picture books promote biology, bonding, feeding, and maturation in the wild.

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This fascinating look at life cycles portrays the normalcy of birth and breastfeeding and explores how mothers help 14 different mammals navigate the path from helpless infants to self-sufficient adults.

Also available in a Spanish edition as Si mi mamá fuera un oritorrinco

Babies Nurse / Así se alimentan los bebés platypus media summer learning loss STEM reading book recommendations children

This beautiful collaboration between a children’s librarian and an NBA-player-turned-watercolor-artist introduces the most natural and loving act—mothers nursing their young.

The book’s luminous illustrations and lyrical text give children a glimpse into the worlds of 13 different mammal babies. Compelling childhood facts also broaden the reader’s knowledge about each animal.

Babies—whether in snowy dens, warm lagoons, cozy nests, or living rooms—are carried and cuddled, nurtured and nuzzled.

Cuddled and Carried / Consentido y cargado platypus media stem summer learning loss reading book recommendations children

Stunning images and gentle verse will capture the curiosity of even the youngest readers as they see how animal mothers tend to their cubs, pups, calves, and chicks.

Beautiful images introduce the reader to attachment in the natural world.

To encourage summer reading and prevent summer learning loss, we are offering a special deal on our website all summer long.

Special Summer Discount - Buy Two Get a Third Free!

Between now and September, buy 2 items and get the 3rd free at with the code SUMMERSLIDE.

What will you and your children be reading this summer?

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