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Low-Income Students + Summer = Increased Vocabulary?

For educators, vacations are a gift and a curse. We all need time to relax and restore our energy, but we also know what happens when students come back from vacations: It sometimes seems as though they’ve been actively trying to forget the things we’ve taught them. In fact, studies show that over summer break, students lose an average of 2.6 months’ worth of math knowledge. For reading, the results are split: Middle-class students make slight gains in reading ability over the summer, while low-income students lose two months’ worth of reading ability.

And so the achievement gap widens, summer after relaxing summer. What can be done?

Summer programs that focus on academics are on the rise. And we’re happy to announce that for the second year in a row, Flocabulary is increasing students’ vocabulary in summer programs. The six-week programs, conducted by After-School All-Stars, provide academic enrichment for more than 700 students from housing projects in New York City. The program director and principal investigator, Dr. Richard Sinatra, notes that, “Participant Flocabulary children in both groups learned substantially more new words than the comparison group of children.”

He goes on to say the study “indicates that in a short time period, a dedicated vocabulary approach that captures children’s interest and motivation can yield highly positive results.”