Did you know that summer break produces an average of one month learning loss in average children? It’s even more pronounced in lower income families. That’s according to a study by Harris Cooper, a psychology professor at Duke University, formerly of the University of Missouri where his research took place. Parents today juggle a thousand things and while summer has to be chock full of activities for their kids, often times learning is forgotten. If the school isn’t doing it, then the parents sure don’t have time, right?

Tonight on Twitter, however, parents can start reversing the trend of summer learning loss by participating in the first-ever Camp What-A-Wonder. A virtual “camp” run through Wonderopolis, a parent-child family learning blog run by the National Center for Family Literacy, Camp What-A-Wonder is a live Twitter chat among parents and a facilitator who will guide “campers” through ideas to engage families in learning while school is not in session across most of the U.S. The Twitter chats are free and virtual, so any parent or child can attend. All they need is a web browser and to know how to follow the #wonder hashtag on Twitter. They only need a Twitter account should they want to ask questions or engage.

Camp What-A-Wonder will run every Thursday from 8 p.m. ET until 9 p.m. ET through August 11. The kick-starter topic for the chat will be the Wonder of the Day on Wonderopolis. Tonight’s topic is “Happy Campers” which centers the chat experience on useful outdoor skills and tips. The ideas shared in the chat should serve as inspiration for parents to share with their children to foster more proactive summer learning.

Camp What-A-Wonder

Next week’s is focused on bugs. Not sure I’m down with that one, though my son will enjoy it.

As you hopefully know by now, I am on the Board of Directors for the National Center for Family Literacy. Multi-generational literacy is a passion project of mine. It’s not just about reading. It’s about learning. And it’s not limited to children, either. Wonderopolis and Camp What-A-Wonder are tools that parents can use to supplement or even overtake the learning their children get at school. The more they learn, the more they’ll earn. We’re nothing if we let education slip past us. These are easy and free tools we hope you take advantage of as a parent, a student or just an interested party.

And from a social media standpoint, Camp What-A-Wonder is an example of how a national non-profit can offer valuable content to serve its mission on a social channel, building relationships and trust among the online community. Perhaps it can inspire your organization.

Our hope is that the Wonderopolis activity on the blog, its Facebook page, Twitter account or even during Camp What-A-Wonder can inspire you to engage in learning with your children. If just one family does it, we’ve done our job.

Join us tonight, would you? See you at 8 ET with the hashtag #wondercamp.

Oh … and the main supporter behind this effort is Verizon’s Thinkfinity — a free educational resource site for teachers, parents and students that includes an online community and training and educational tools for teachers of all kinds.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://www.sayitinshirts.com jbledsoejr

    Interesting use of Social Media.  We homeschool our children and this sounds like a creative way to enhance what we are doing.  Looking forward to checking it out!  Thx for sharing!

  • http://www.sayitinshirts.com jbledsoejr

    Interesting use of Social Media.  We homeschool our children and this sounds like a creative way to enhance what we are doing.  Looking forward to checking it out!  Thx for sharing!

  • Pingback: Simple Ways to Inspire a Love of Reading in Your Child | The Intentional Parent

  • http://twitter.com/interiorgalAR Anita Ryan

    This is GREAT! Love the creative use of social networking and building learning communities. I will have to share.

  • http://www.hippiespelunker.com lisamariemary

    I love this, Jason! It’s an awesome melding of parents, kids, summer, fun, and technology! And all focused on literacy – just about my favorite subject! Awesome! 

    I recently was doing research on the summer learning loss that children experience and one report I read said that the children don’t get to school and then ‘catch up’. So by the time they get to middle school, they are actually several grades behind on their reading levels. It’s absolutely heartbreaking! 

    On another note, I’ve got some bugs out back that I was just looking at that your son would love! They are beetles that are green and some other color and they are actually kind of metallic-looking! Much more exciting than the june bugs we had in Texas! ;)

    And on yet another note, have you read “The Read Aloud Handbook” by Jim Trelease? I bet you’d love it! I need to get an updated version.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Adding that to my Amazon list! Thanks Lisa!

  • http://twitter.com/HotSpotPromo Darlene Hull

    I love this idea!  I’m a homeschooling mom – among other things – and this kind of stuff gets me very excited.  My kids are older now (16 and 18) but I’ll bet they’d find something fun in this as well.  Definitely going to check it out!

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Glad to connect those dots, Darlene. Thanks for chiming in.