Summer Learning

BOSTnet’s Summer Learning Collaborative (SLC) is unique in the field of literacy support for school-age children. In a dynamic partnership with the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, United Way of Central Mass, Family Services of Central Mass, and other partners, BOSTnet delivers a sustainable, high-impact strategy to halt summer learning loss and spark a lifelong love of reading in children across low-income communities throughout the Commonwealth.

Right now we are preparing for summer 2016 and have finalized our book list – you can make a difference by donating a book or funds to help our curriculum using the button below:


Visit our SLC resource center for a sample of our summer literacy curriculum, to access our online forum and for other resources.

The Challenge
A study by Karl Alexander at Johns Hopkins University concluded that while students made similar progress during the school year regardless of economic status, students with educational summer programs held steady or continued to advance during the summer, while students without such programs (largely low-income students) fell back.  By the end of grammar school, low-income students had fallen nearly three grade levels behind.  By ninth grade, roughly two thirds of the learning gap separating income groups can be attributed to summer learning loss.

Third grade reading levels are a key indicator of a child’s long-term potential for success in school, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Early Warning report.  Unfortunately, in 2014, 43% of all Massachusetts 3rd grade students and 62% of high needs 3rd grade students scored below proficiency level on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System test for English Language Arts.

Our Strategy

To improve literacy outcomes for low-income children in grades K-3, the Summer Learning Collaborative increases capacity at programs by building strong mentoring relationships with leaders at summer programs, who we call Literacy Champions. Champions partner with SLC Literacy Mentors to teach educators to create and implement fun literacy curricula that reinforce school year learning, and to shift program structure to infuse literacy through all elements of the program day. This model has had many positive outcomes for students and staff alike. We have helped program staff build confidence to incorporate effective and fun reading, writing and learning activities into everyday programming. OST programs staff report improved staff capacity to implement summer literacy activities, and plan to continue the literacy activities throughout the school year.

[W]e see summer programs as a great opportunity to infuse literacy and to augment the approach to education. Not to continue school, but to make sure the programs are delivering high-quality, high-impact learning opportunities for kids while they’re there over the course of ten hours a day, often, over eight weeks. -Maryellen Coffey, BOSTnet‘s Executive Director

Media about the SLC

  • Should Summer Vacation Be Shorter? Listen to Maryellen Coffey, BOSTnet’s Executive Director, and Jennifer Davis, Co-Founder and President of the National Center for Time and Learning and Mass2020, explore the issue of summer learning with host Sacha Pfeiffer in the WBUR studios for Radio Boston
  • Lowell Students Get Scoop on Summer Reading. Read the Lowell Sun article about the SLC.  They joined UPS, the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Mass Bay and Merrimack Valley and BOSTnet on a visit to Community Teamwork.
  • Bright Spots Summer Learning: Campaign for Grade Level Reading’s Bright Spot Program profile of the Collaborative.
  • The United Way of Mass Bay and Merrimack Valley’s YouTube video about the collaborative.

SLC Evaluations

2015 SLC


Resources and Links:

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3 thoughts on “Summer Learning

  1. […] summer literacy initiatives are underway and new summer camp site directors continue to ask us some form of ‘what is […]

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