ATLANTA -- School may be out for the summer, but for Boys & Girls Club members, lessons are still in session. Through its fun and educational Summer Brain Gain program, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) aims to prevent summer learning loss and keep kids on track for the coming school year.
Each summer, an estimated 43 million children in the U.S. miss out on expanded learning opportunities that could prevent them from falling behind before the next school year begins. During summer, most youth lose about two months' worth of math skills. Low-income youth also lose more than two months' worth of reading skills, while their middle-class peers make slight gains.
To combat summer learning loss, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) is expanding its Summer Brain Gain program to 1,500 Clubs across the country. While the average low-income U.S. student lost at least two months of learning last summer, the average Summer Brain Gain participant did not. In some areas, Club members showed significant gains, including improvements in reading skills for fifth and eighth graders, and in math skills for fourth, fifth and sixth graders.
"We are committed to ensuring that our nation's youth, especially those who need us most, graduate from high school on time with a plan for the future," Jim Clark, president and CEO of BGCA, said. "To fight the detrimental effect of summer learning loss, Summer Brain Gain offers fun, hands-on learning opportunities that keep kids' minds active and engaged."
Summer Brain Gain is comprised of 17 one-week modules with themed activities for elementary school, middle school and high school students. Supported by Disney, each module takes a project-based learning approach; youth engage in a process of learning through discovery, creative expression, group work and a final project or production. Examples of these modules include "Bio Motion" and "Bug Off!" where Club youth can explore how living things navigate their environments or examine the incredible amount of diversity in the insect world.
Several participating Clubs will additionally offer Summer Brain Gain: READ! Supported by Staples, Summer Brain Gain: READ! is a 12-week summer reading program to improve the reading skills of youth with a new book presented each week per age group, along with supporting activities. In addition to two 30-minute reading sessions each week, members complete fun activities that bring the book to life.
Also, Staples will be supporting the "Make Good Reads Happen" contest launching over the summer. The contest asks Boys & Girls Club members in elementary school (Grades 1-5) and Middle and High School members (Grades 6-12) to use their imagination and creativity to highlight their favorite book and then a grand prize winner will be selected from each age group.
According to Afterschool Alliance, kids who participate in after-school programs are more likely to participate in summer learning programs. Serving nearly 4 million kids, Boys & Girls Clubs are the leading after-school and summer learning provider that are helping close the educational opportunity gap in this country. To learn more about Summer Brain Gain, visit greatfutures.org.