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Summer Learning

Enriching Summer Programs Mean Success for All Children: How to Close the Achievement Gap


Did you know that children who don’t have an enriching summer environment can lose up to 1/3 of what they learned over the past school year?  Most of the children who experience this “Summer Slide” are minority children from low-income families.  Here’s why.

Children from middle and upper-income families tend to have a rich summer schedule of educational and sports programs, enriching experiences, and travel opportunities.  Children from lower income families have more limited opportunities to grow and learn.  Instead, they find themselves watching TV or looking for other ways to fill their time.

This leads to what we call the income-based achievement gap.  Children from all income-levels tend to grow their skills in critical areas like literacy and math at about the same rate.  However, during the summer, children from middle and upper-income families either hold steady or keep gaining skills, due to their enriched environments, whereas children from lower-income families often slide back.  Research from Johns Hopkins University, Duke University, and others shows that each year, summer slide means children lose about 1/3 of what they learned.

Summer Slide adds up fast!  By the end of elementary school, low-income students are an average of 3 grades behind in their literacy and math skills.

By assuring that children all across Connecticut have access to enriching, fun, high-quality summer programs, we can prevent this “summer slide,” giving all children, regardless of income level, the chance to succeed in school and in life!

To learn more, check out these resources:

National Summer Learning Association
The Campaign for Grade Level Reading
All over the World Global Literacy Curriculum
Funding Summer Learning (-PDF)
Summer Learning in CT Infographic

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