Learning from Summer: Effects of Voluntary Summer Learning Programs on Low-Income Urban Youth

The largest-ever study of summer learning finds that students with high attendance in free, five to six-week, voluntary summer learning programs experienced educationally meaningful benefits in math and reading.

The findings are important because children from low-income families lose ground in learning over the summer compared to their more affluent peers. Voluntary, district-run summer programs could help shrink this gap and have the potential to reach more students than traditional summer school or smaller-scale programs run by outside organizations. Yet until now little has been known about the impact of these programs and how they can succeed. Wallace’s $50 million National Summer Learning Project seeks to help provide answers.