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We all need a break once in a while.  No one can argue with that.  However, the long summer break can be challenging for low-income families with regards to child care and food security, as discussed in a previous post.  Another downside to long summer breaks is the well-documented learning loss that occurs when children are not engaged in educational activities for long periods of time.

The good news is that this “Summer Slide” is not inevitable.  By taking part in special activities, kids can have a fun and educational summer. Summer Learning DayResearchers have found one reason for the achievement gap between low- and middle-class students is a lack of access to quality summer enrichment programs among lower-income families.

Summer learning loss is cumulative, building over time so that many kids from low-income families fall further behind their peers year after year. According to the National Summer Learning Association, most students lose two months of grade level equivalency in math during the summer break.

Studies also show that while students from middle-income families make slight gains in reading skills over the break, students from low-income households lose more than two months of reading achievement. While a number of districts have turned to year-round schedules or extended school years to combat summer learning loss and meet the child care needs of working families, summer programs offer a slightly less expensive way to target educational enrichment courses to high-risk students.

According to a 2011 Wallace Foundation report, Making Summer Count, school districts running their own summer programs spent less (more…)

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I’m way behind on my reading and was about to make a list of things I want to get around to, then thought Hey, I can share it with the world!

Currently reading / need to finish:

Rediscovering Social Innovation” in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (pdf)

Social Citizens: Beta” from the Case Foundation (pdf)

A Model of Social Interactions and Endogenous Poverty Traps” by Roland G. Fryer, Jr. Harvard and the National Bureau of Economic Research. (pdf)

The Transformer“, a review in the New York Times of Paul Tough’s book Whatever It Takes, which is about the Harlem Children’s Zone.

And Early Childhood Watch at the New America Foundation has been on fire lately, with lots of substantive posts I want to be reading and commenting on:

Vanishing Potential: How to Stop the Losses through Pre-k to 3rd Reform

Why the Early Education Sector is More Innovative than K-12

Top-Down’ Politics, NCLB and Early Education

I could go on, but that’ll get us through the next little while.

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