Summer Learning Tools & Best Practices Resources

Explore this collection of websites for resources and information to help inform and support your summer learning initiatives.


Getting Started

National Summer Learning Association – Investment in Staff Yields Summer Success for Students, Jessica Manta Meyer, Public Profit, January 2018
Delivering a high-quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) summer program can seem daunting, especially when front-line staff may have limited STEM experience. In this study, researchers focused on the impact of providing staff with hands-on curriculum, professional development, coaching, and quality assessment, in order to better engage youth in summer and STEM learning.

Rand Corporation Summer Learning

Summer Opportunity Action Toolkit, NSLA, published June 14, 2016
Read about key steps you can take this summer to increase access to high-quality summer learning, meals and jobs opportunities in your community.

Wallace Foundation Knowledge Center: Summer Learning

Evaluation Tools

National Summer Learning Association’s Program Toolkit
When kids continue leaning during the summer, they are healthier, safer and more prepared for the school year ahead. NSLA’s team of experts offer: Customized Trainings: Support your program leaders as they plan, implement and evaluate summer program quality, program culture, partnerships and student outcomes.

Research & Policy Information

Rand Corporation Research in Action Series
Summer Arts Programming Improves Academic Performance: Baltimore students in Young Audiences Summer Arts Academy Outperform Peers

YAMD Evaluation
City Schools Evaluation

Summer Arts Programming Improves Academic Performance – Baltimore students in Young Audiences Summer Arts Academy Outperform Peers
Low-income Baltimore City Public Schools students who participated in a new arts-related summer academic program from Young Audiences avoided summer learning loss and, in many cases, gained ground on their national peers in standardized testing, according to evaluations released Tuesday. The new findings showed potentially groundbreaking progress in tackling summer learning loss, a chronic challenge facing public schools.

Learning from Summer: Effects of Voluntary Summer Learning Programs on Low-Income Urban Youth (pdf)
A groundbreaking study finds high-quality summer learning programs benefit high-attending students in math and reading.

Summer School and Reading Proficiency
Geoffrey Borman, Professor, Education Policy and Quantitative Methods, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Summer reading has emerged as a key component of state legislation aimed at promoting student literacy. However, legislation has only scratched the surface when it comes to promoting best practices for effective summer reading programming.


Other Resources and Information

Big Thought in Dallas – Thriving Minds Summer Camp: Video
Thriving Minds Summer Camp launched in 2010 and has since provided programming at up to 17 elementary and nine middle school campuses, served more than 23,00 students (K-8) and delivered close to 4 million hours of programming.

NASA Summer of Innovation Grant – Zero Robotics Program: Video
Zero Robotics is a robotics programming competition where the robots are SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold Engage and Reorient Experimental Satellites) inside the International Space Station. Zero Robotics seeks to inspire the next generation of great minds by allowing them unprecedented access to space at the high school and middle school level. By making the benefits and resources of the space program tangible to students, Zero Robotics hopes to cultivate an appreciation of science, technology, engineering and math through healthy, immersive, collaborative competition.

NCASE Summer Learning Brief
Summer learning is a key solution to closing academic and opportunity gaps that affect many communities across the country. When children continue to learn during the summer, they are healthier, safer, and smarter, and their schools and communities are more successful. The NCASE Summer Learning Brief features research on program quality, funding strategies and information, a program spotlight, and other valuable resources that support reflection and program planning and implementation.