International Studies

A growing body of international research into achievement gaps has focused on summer learning loss and the different impact this has on students from low and high socioeconomic backgrounds. Some argue that even small differences in summer learning amass over the years, and by the end of elementary school the achievement gap is substantially larger than at the beginning (Kim & White, 2011). Further, a number of international studies suggest that the cumulative summer learning effect is the primary cause of the widening achievement gap between students from high and low socioeconomic levels (McCombs et. al., 2011; Ready, 2010; Allington et. al., 2010; Terzian, Moore, & Hamilton, 2009; Alexander, Entwisle & Olson, 2007). In the United States for example, various strategies have been implemented to try to counter summer learning effect, including summer schools, reading programmes offered by public libraries and reading books at home.

READS at Harvard University (Prof. James Kim)

The links below provide information, including video clips, about the READS summer programme housed at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Further Reading

Alexander, K. L., Entwisle, D. R., & Olson, L. S. (2007). Lasting consequences of the summer learning gap. American Sociological Review, 72 , 167-180.

Allington, R. L., & McGill-Franzen, A. M. (2003). The impact of summer loss on the reading achievement gap. Phi Delta Kappan, 85 , 68-75.

Allington, R. L., Mcgill-Franzen, A. M, Camilli, G., Williams, L., Graff, J., Zeig, J., Zmach, C., & Nowak, R. (2010). Addressing summer reading setback among economically disadvantaged elementary students. Reading Psychology, 31 , 411-427.

Augustine, C.H., McCombs, J.S., Pane, J.F., Schwartz, H.L., Schweig, J., McEachin, A., & Siler-Evans, K. (2016). Learning from Summer: Effects of Voluntary Summer Learning Programs on Low-Income Urban Youth. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.

Kim, J.S., & Guryan, J. (2010). The efficacy of a voluntary summer reading intervention for low-income Latino children from language minority families. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102, 20-31.

Kim, J., & White, T.G. (2011). Solving the problem of summer reading loss. Phi Delta Kappan, 92, 64-67.

McCombs, J. S., Augustine, C. H., Schwartz, H. C., Bodilly, S. J., McInnis, B., Lichter, D. S., & Cross, A. B. (2011). Making summer count: How summer programs can boost children's learning. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.

Ready, D. D. (2010). Socioeconomic disadvantage, school attendance, and early cognitive development: The differential effects of school exposure. Sociology of Education, 83 , 271-286.

McNaughton, S., Jesson, R., Kolose, T., & Kercher, S. (2012). School achievement: Why summer matters. Retrieved from