The Why

Extended learning is a critical component of the comprehensive approach to reading success by the end of third grade.  Research indicates that, on average, students lose skills over the summer.  However, not all students experience “average” losses, and summer learning loss disproportionately affects low-income students. Low income students lose substantial ground in reading during the summer, while their higher-income peers often gain. The loss of knowledge and educational skills during the summer months is cumulative over the course of a student’s career and further widens the achievement gap between low- and upper-income students.

It may be that efforts to close the achievement gap during the school year alone will be unsuccessful. Instruction during the summer has the potential to stop summer learning losses and propel students toward higher achievement.

The Research

Research suggests that regular participation in programs that provide academic and social activities contributes positively to children’s academic and social development. A meta-analysis of afterschool programs that focused on personal and social development found that the programs did, in fact, have a positive impact on students’ grades, academic achievement, and self-esteem.

(Durlak, Weissberg, 2007)

Too many children lose ground over the summer months. Without access to the enriching activities available to their more affluent peers, research shows that children from low-income families lose as much as three months of reading comprehension over the summer.

The Goal

  • To decrease the percentage of pre-k to third grade children who experience summer learning loss in reading.

The How

  • Bridging the gap between schools and afterschool programs.
    • Schools and afterschool programs have a common vision and responsibility for their students.  Collaboration and communication between these entities could create strong foundations for student success.
  • Strengthen partnerships that already exist.
    • Schools should tap into resources that already provide for students after the school day ends.  For example, WV Extension offices, 4-H, local libraries, The Boys, and Girls Club are all organizations that could support and enhance the learning that occurred during the school day.
  • Get books in the hands of children.
    • Even when resources do not allow for extensive programming, we can reach students during out of school time simply by ensuring there is accessible reading material in their homes.  Many districts are accomplishing this by providing mobile feed and read programs, hosting community book showers, installing Little Free Libraries, and funding Imagination Library.

I want to make a difference in my child

  • Explore your options through the WVU Extension Services.
  • Visit your local library to get a schedule of events.
  • Find out what activities and resources your county provides during the summer months.

I want to make a difference in our school

  • Explore the Extending Learning Toolkit to support out of school time opportunities for students at your school. This resource provides templates and ideas for programming to make for easier planning.
  • Consider partnering with the WVU Extension Services to provide extended learning opportunities at your school.
  • Visit the You For Youth resource overview to find tools to support your efforts in literacy, summer learning, STEM, etc..

I want to make a difference in our community