FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) for Parents
Here you can find the answers to some of the questions you may have about the Summer Learning Journey (SLJ).

Q: What is the Summer Learning Journey?
A: The Summer Learning Journey is a free digital literacy programme for school students. It was designed to encourage primary and intermediate school students to continue their literacy learning over the summer holidays. There will be 4 weeks of activities for students to complete over the summer holidays (17th December 2018 - 25th January 2019). There will be a mixture of reading and writing activities for students to choose from. This year our theme is 'The World Around US', with a focus on our environment.

Q: Why was the Summer Learning Journey programme created?
A: The Summer Learning Journey was created in response to concerns about the annual drop, slide or slump in literacy achievement experienced by students in New Zealand schools. It (the summer slide) is not an issue unique to New Zealand. For more information on the summer slide in literacy, please watch this webcast that features Mr Ron Fairchild, executive director of the National Summer Learning Association in the United States of America.

Q: Who created the Summer Learning Journey?
A: The Summer Learning Journey originally was designed by Rachel Williamson in collaboration with the Woolf Fisher Research Centre at the University of Auckland and Manaiakalani students and staff. This year we have welcomed Hazel Fowler into the leadership team. This will be the sixth time the programme has been offered!

Q: Who can join the Summer Learning Journey?
A: At this stage, the Summer Learning Journey is open to all students attending school in the original Manaiakalani cluster and selected outreach-clusters who have participated in the Manaiakalani cyber safety curriculum. The programme has been designed for year 4 - 8 students. We hope to one day be able to offer this programme to students all throughout the country.

Q: How does my child register for the Summer Learning Journey?
A: 
To make sure that your child's blog is being monitored by our team, your child will need to register by filling in the registration form.

Q: What are the benefits of my students participating in the Summer Learning Journey?
A: Research has shown that students who take part in the Summer Learning Journey return to school after the summer break ready to learn, and achieve better results in reading and writing than students who do not participate. All students who participate will receive a certificate and a digital badge for their blog site and there are some great prizes up for grabs for our most active bloggers. It's also a lot of fun! Click here to read some testimonials from students who have previously taken part in the project.

Q: Where does my child complete the activities?
A: Children are asked to post their responses to the activities on their school-sponsored blog site. It's important that they include a link (url) to their blog when they register.

Q: Who will be reading my child's blog posts?
A: Our blogging team is made up of people all over the country who come from an education background. Our team will read and provide feedback on your children's blog posts every day. To learn more about your local team, click here. Remember, your child is posting to a publicly accessible blog site, so it's important they stay cyber smart.

Q: How long should my child spend blogging each day?
A:
We would recommend that children aim to complete, at least two activities per week. The activities take approximately 10-15 minutes. Our research shows that, on average, students who blog twice a week over summer maintain their literacy achievement scores.  

Q: How does my child participate if they don't have internet access at home?
A: Your child is able to download all of the activities so they can be viewed offline. Children are encouraged to complete all of the activities (even if they are not able to be uploaded straight away), and then upload them to their blog site when they have the chance to do so. We have partnered with some of our local community centres and libraries who are happy for your children to use their internet services. Please check with your local school which centres are available for your child to use. This year, we will be offering a mobile version of the Summer Learning Journey, which has been optimised for use on mobile devices. Click here to check it out!

Q: How are the top bloggers decided? How many prizes are there?
A:
Children earn points for completing the activities on their own blog, and leaving comments on the blogs of other students. At the end of the programme, the points are counted up and prizes will be awarded to the most active bloggers in each school.

Q: Where can I hear more about the Summer Learning Journey?
A: Click here to watch a recent Seven Sharp interview with Rachel and two of our bloggers from last year. For more information about the programme, you can also read about it in the New Zealand Herald, Education Central, The Dominion Post, the Newsroom, the NZ Book Council website, Computers in Homes, the University of Auckland website, or in the Annual Donor's Report (2017) for the University of AucklandAlternatively, you can also watch a webinar hosted by the Education Hub, featuring Rachel and Hazel.

Q: How do I know that this programme works?
A: Click here to read a report of the results from the 2017 Summer Learning Journey programme. 

Didn't find the information you were looking for? Please listen to the video below and/or click here to watch a presentation on the SLJ prepared specifically for parents by our team in Toki Pounamu.

Alternatively, you can contact Rachel: rachel.williamson@auckland.ac.nz or Hazel: h.fowler@auckland.ac.nz and they will be happy to help you!

SLJ Intro - Rachel