Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children's Learning

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Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children's Learning

Summer learning programs have the potential to help children and youth improve their academic and other outcomes. This is especially true for children from low-income families who might not have access to educational resources throughout the summer months and for low-achieving students who need additional time to master academic content. However, summer learning programs are often an afterthought of school districts or not offered at all, especially in restrictive funding environments.

To focus attention on the potential of such programs, this monograph reviews the literature on summer learning loss and the effectiveness of summer learning programs, determines key cost drivers of and available funds for summer programs, and gathers information about how such programs operate in district and city contexts, including facilitators and challenges.

The findings should be of interest to policymakers and practitioners involved in improving the performance of and expanding opportunities for low-income and lowachieving students, including school district and city leaders, the National Summer Learning Association, the Council of the Great City Schools, the U.S. Department of Education, funders of summer learning programs, state departments of education, state legislators, and the education research community.

This research was conducted by RAND Education, a unit of the RAND Corporation, and sponsored by The Wallace Foundation, which seeks to support and share effective ideas and practices to improve learning and enrichment opportunities for children. Its current objectives are to improve the quality of schools, primarily by developing and placing effective principals in high-need schools; improve the quality of and access to out-of-school-time programs through coordinated city systems and by strengthening the financial management skills of providers; integrate in- and out-ofschool learning by supporting efforts to reimagine and expand learning time during the traditional school day and year as well as during the summer months, helping to expand access to arts learning, and using technology as a tool for teaching and promoting creativity and imagination. For more information about research on these and other related topics, please visit The Wallace Foundation Knowledge Center at

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