Summer vacation is in full swing. It’s a time that students anticipate for months, and when it finally arrives, well, the smiles say it all. The sad reality though, is that the extended free time comes at a huge price. The RAND Corporation reports that, on average, students lose one month of math and reading skills over the course of a typical summer. It probably comes as no surprise that socioeconomics play a large role in the overall effect. Low-income students lose significantly more ground than the average, while their higher income peers actually gain skills over the summer. More unfortunate still, summer learning loss is cumulative, creating a mountainous achievement gap over many years, from which most low-income students never have the chance to recover.
Low-income households struggle with summer vacation. Parents don’t have the luxury of staying home with their kids. And summer programs, academic or otherwise, are expensive. In addition, there may be pressing needs at home, which means low-income students often spend their summers helping with domestic tasks, supervising younger siblings, or working to supplement family income. The end result is that reading and math skills slowly erode over the summer, leaving them -- through no fault of their own -- behind when school starts up again.
At Breakthrough, we understand the liabilities of summer. Our summer program for middle school students is designed to fight summer learning loss head on. Over the course of six full weeks, Breakthrough students dive into engaging hands-on learning in core academics like math science, literature, and writing, reinforcing crucial skills for school success. Breakthrough classes are small. Students have the opportunity to ask questions and receive the attention they need. They solve math puzzles, conduct science experiments, discuss literature, write computer code, essays, and much more. Summer learning at Breakthrough taps into each child’s natural curiosity and best of all, it’s fun. Our students-teaching-students model brings outstanding college and high school students in as summer teachers and role models, demonstrating every day that learning is cool.