Smarter Summers.
Brighter Futures.

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NSLA’s vision is that all children and youth have access to high-quality summer learning experiences to help them succeed in college, career and life.

The opportunities for enriching summer experiences, healthy meals, a first job and more, open endless possibilities and doors to brighter futures for America’s young people.

The Need: Why Summers Matter

For the more than 25 million low-income public school students in America, summer is often anything but a vacation. Instead of a relaxing break to explore new interests and places, it’s often a time when children, youth and families struggle to find and afford food to eat and a safe place to be.

Summer learning loss, the phenomenon where young people lose academic skills over the summer, is one of the most significant causes of the achievement gap between lower and higher income youth and one of the strongest contributors to the high school dropout rate. For many young people, the summer “opportunity gap” contributes to gaps in achievement, employment and college and career success.


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Every summer, low-income youth lose two to three months in reading while their higher-income peers make slight gains. Most youth lose about two months of math skills in the summer.

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These reading and math losses add up. By fifth grade, summer learning loss can leave low-income students 2 1/2 to 3 years behind their peers.

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Research shows that while gaps in student achievement remain relatively constant during the school year, the gaps widen significantly during the summer. 

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Low-income youth lose access to healthy meals over the summer. Six out of every seven students who receive free- and reduced-price lunches lose access to them when school lets out.

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Summer Learning Day

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Summer Learning Day is an annual advocacy day led by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) to elevate awareness of the importance of keeping kids learning, safe and healthy every summer.

Take Action

Support NSLA’s work to bring summer learning opportunities to all youth.

Sign up for updates and follow NSLA on Facebook and Twitter.

Interested in partnering with NSLA? Contact Laura Johnson at