What Happens to Kids Over the Summer?

Each summer in America, an estimated 43 million children in the U.S. miss out on expanded learning opportunities that could prevent them from falling behind. During summer, most youth lose about two months’ worth of math skills. Low-income youth also lose more than two months’ worth of reading skills, while their middle-class peers make slight gains.

Summer learning losses can stack up from year to year, causing low-income children to fall further and further behind, ultimately endangering their chances of high school graduation. More than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities.

Close the Achievement Gap

BGCA is committed to ensuring that America’s youth, especially those who need us most, graduate from high school on time with a plan for the future. That’s why we launched Summer Brain Gain—a summer learning loss prevention program developed specifically for Boys & Girls Clubs to integrate into their traditional summer schedule.

Summer Brain Gain is comprised of one-week modules with fun, themed activities for elementary school, middle school and high school students. Supported by Disney, each module takes a project-based learning approach: youth engage in a process of learning through discovery, creative expression, group work and a final project or production. As a result, kids develop higher-order thinking skills through the Summer Brain Gain modules while staying on track for the coming school year.

In addition, with support from Staples, BGCA will pilot test Summer Brain Gain: Read!, a literacy program that complements the larger Summer Brain Gain curriculum. To improve the reading skills of America’s youth, Summer Brain Gain: Read! is a summer reading program with a new book presented each week per age group, along with supporting activities that bring the book to life.

Summer Brain Gain Works

Success Story: Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley

One of the first Clubs to successfully pilot Summer Brain Gain was Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley in Knoxville. During the summer of 2013, 63 Club members participated in
engaging summer camp experiences that interlaced critical summer learning. “I liked the thought that I would not be as far behind when I went back to school because I participated in this summer program,” said Elizabeth W., a Club participant.

The Knoxville pilot yielded positive results. Following the Summer Brain Gain program, middle school participants showed a greater interest in science, exhibited stronger teamwork and community building skills and fostered a love for reading. Read the full story.

Success Story: Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus

The timing for Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus’ launch of the Summer Brain Gain program could not have been better. Data collected from local schools showed that kids in this area had significant summer learning loss—with disadvantaged youth raising these stats even more. “As soon as our Club learned about Summer Brain Gain, we asked to be a part of the pilot,” said Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus Executive Director Rebecca Asmo. For 10 weeks in the summer of 2013, more than 500 youth from various Columbus area schools participated in the program.

Following the pilot of Summer Brain Gain, evaluation studies were conducted proving the program to be a huge success. Forty-eight percent of Summer Brain Gain participants made academic gains over the summer, and another 38 percent did not experience any learning loss. Read the full story.



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