Facts & Stats

Research has been ongoing for over 100 years; summer learning loss statistics show students lose 2-3 months of knowledge every summer. We know the problem. We know how it happens. And we know how to help you fix it.

As a member of National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), ThinkStretch is pleased to offer free downloads of their excellent Research in Brief series. The NSLA has researched summer learning loss and its consequences for over a decade. Click on the article title to view each PDF.

More Than a Hunch: Kids Lose Learning Skills Over the Summer Months (Cooper, Harris)

A personal experience can spark a theory that, in turn, prompts important research. That’s what happened when Harris Cooper, then a professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, served on the Columbia, Missouri, school board. In the early ‘90s, the board was asked to discuss the local implications of a proposed federal cut in summer programming. Cooper, who suspected that the cutback was not a good idea, was unwilling to rubber-stamp the summer programming cut. He launched some research into summer learning, willing to follow wherever it led, and arrived at the overwhelming conclusion that his hunch was spot on. Summer learning loss is very real and has important repercussions in the lives of students, especially those with fewer financial resources.

How to Make Summer Reading Effective (Kim, James)

Summer’s always been a great time to kick back with a book. But a strong body of research shows that, without practice, students lose reading skills over the summer months and children from low-income families lose the most. With the prevalence of television, computers and other electronic distractions, how can parents, educators and librarians encourage kids to immerse their minds and imaginations in books over the summer months?

Doesn’t Every Child Deserve a Memorable Summer? (NSLA Newsletter)

To succeed in school and life, children and young adults need ongoing opportunities to learn and practice essential skills. This is especially true during the summer months. Many Americans have a wonderful image of summer as a carefree, happy time when “kids can be kids,” and take for granted the prospect of enriching experiences such as summer camps, time with family, and trips to museums, parks, and libraries. Unfortunately, some youth face anything but idyllic summer months. When the school doors close, many children struggle to access educational opportunities, as well as basic needs such as healthy meals and adequate adult supervision.

Summer Can Set Kids on the Right — or Wrong — Course (Alexander, Karl)

When school doors close for the summer, what do kids face? For some, it’s a world of interesting vacations, music lessons, and library trips. For others without enriching summertime opportunities, the break can lead to serious academic consequences—and the disparity can be dramatic.