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Summer learning programs are filling the invaluable role of providing essential services—such as a safe and supervised environment, academically enriching activities, healthy snacks and meals, and caring and supportive mentors.
Children lose more than academic knowledge over the summer. Most children—particularly children at high risk of obesity—gain weight more rapidly when they are out of school during summer break (Von Hippel et al, 2007).
More than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school.
Most students lose about 2 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills during summer. They also lose more than 2 months in reading achievement, despite the fact that their middle-class peers make slight gains.
Young people experience learning losses during their summer vacation. Research spanning 100 years shows that students score lower on tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning.
Some youth face anything but idyllic summer months. When the school doors close, many children struggle to access educational opportunities, as well as basic needs such as healthy meals and adequate adult supervision.
To succeed in school and life, children and young adults need ongoing opportunities to learn and practice essential skills. This is especially true during the summer months.
The loss of knowledge and educational skills during the summer months is cumulative over the course of a student’s career and further widens the achievement gap between low- and upper-income students.