Without access to summer programs, children can lose significant academic and learning progress from the school year. Over a century of research shows that summer learning loss can set children back academically. The average student loses 2.6 months of math skill development during summer breaks. These challenges are compounded for low-income youth who lose two months of reading achievement on average each summer. As a result, teachers typically use four to six weeks of each academic year teaching old material that students have forgotten over the summer. Academic losses don’t pose the only threat during the summertime - without structured meals and exercise, summer can lead to weight gain and setbacks in physical fitness.
There are a lot of options for preventing summer learning loss. Parent engagement and learning activities can provide kids with the opportunity not only to preserve but to advance their learning. The lists below offer tips and local resources to help parents and caring adults with valuable ways to keep kids on track. Summer learning is also supported locally by the Summer Youth Program Fund, a collaborative funding project that The Indianapolis Foundation co-founded.
Connect to Local Programs
- The Marion County Commission on Youth (MCCOY) produces the annual Youth Activity Directory, which includes information about camps and other engaging activities for youth.
- Indy Parks, the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis and Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis offer a range of summer day camps at locations throughout the city.
- For special-interest camps, Indy’s Child offers a searchable database of local camp options.
Support Learning at Home
- Encourage your child to read high-interest books that will help them maintain their reading skills. The Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, Hamilton East Public Library, Carmel Clay Public Library, Sheridan Public Library and Westfield Washington Public Library offer summer programs to encourage reading.
- Talk with your child’s teacher before the last day of school to get suggestions for workbooks, reading books, science activities and other ways to encourage learning. Take a special interest in subjects that are especially challenging for your child.
- Trips to museums, zoos, concerts and parks can all provide learning experiences.
- Set a goal of incorporating some math problems, a chapter or two of a book and journaling on a regular basis.
More about the 2012 Summer Youth Program Fund grants.