Research shows that math and reading skills deteriorate for all youth during the summer months. This “summer slide” is more pronounced for low income youth, who may lack access to informal learning experiences available during summer. The summer learning opportunity gap is cumulative, with the predictable annual setbacks in student learning making it even harder for low income youth to keep pace with their classmates as they move from elementary to middle school. By the time youth reach the 6th grade, research shows that there is an average learning opportunity gap of 1,080 hours between low income youth and upper and middle class youth, due solely from different summer learning experiences.
Access to high quality summer learning opportunities can help prevent the summer slide. Youth from Nebraska’s low-income families need these important learning opportunities – school-based programs, camps, center or library based programs – which vary from community to community. While many programs across the state already provide important summer programs, we know more Nebraska youth need access to learning opportunities during these critical months. The National Summer Learning Association serves as a clearing house for information about Summer Learning programs. We encourage you to visit this site and talk to other leaders in your community about developing or expanding high quality summer learning experiences – especially for youth from our most challenging educational environments.