Research spanning 100 years has proven that students experience academic learning loss when they are out of school for the summer and do not engage in educational activities. This loss can set them back in their learning progress and cause them to lose ground academically. The problem is especially severe among low-income students. The summer learning initiative is focused on creating opportunities for summer learning to stop the “summer slide” and help close the achievement gap.
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With an average loss of more than two months in reading achievement during the summer, progress toward third-grade reading proficiency for low-income children is greatly slowed and the achievement gap with their middle-class peers is exacerbated. Summer learning loss is also cumulative, making it nearly impossible to “catch up” year after year.
Studies also document that trying to rectify summer learning loss each year by re-teaching forgotten material is costly in terms of both money for the school system and time for the teachers and other students in the classroom.
Funders, policy makers, and community leaders can help schools and local organizations address summer learning loss by supporting strong programs engaging more children in summer learning opportunities. Moving away from the traditional model of summer school, summer learning’s new form is a blend of core academic learning, hands-on activities, arts, sports, technology, and meaningful relationships.
For more information on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s efforts to reduce summer learning loss nationwide, please visit GradeLevelReading.net