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by Judith Drucker

Related: summer brain drain, student, kids, child, academic, program, camp, summer break, advice, tips, new york city,

Don't let summer brain drain (the regression in math and reading skills that occurs over school vacation) happen to your children. Keep their brains active this summer at one of these great programs in the New York City area and beyond.

Did you know? Students lose two entire months of academic skills during the summer break!

"Summer Brain Drain" is a widely used phrase in education circles. It expresses the fact, supported by years of academic research, that children regress in their math and reading skills over the summer unless they are provided with opportunities to use what they learned during the year in extracurricular academic programs. 

Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen, faculty members of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, conducted a three-year study that shows that students who received books to read in the summer at home had a significantly higher level of reading achievement than those who did not read. "What we know is that children who do not read in the summer lose two to three months of reading development while kids who do read tend to gain a month of reading proficiency," Allington said. "This creates a three-to-four-month gap every year. Every two or three years the kids who don't read in the summer fall a year behind the kids who do." (Holmes, 2010, 5)

Think of your child's brain as a ball of pizza dough. When you've got the dough moving it is pliable and you can stretch it to the max, just like what happens during the school year with the hours of class time and homework in which your child is participating. Put the dough down and leave it alone, and it shrinks right back into a tight little ball. That pizza dough is like your child's brain and it is essential to their academic success to continue to "stretch the pizza" of their brains during the summer. Researcher Melissa A. Varian, 2008, p. 10 states, "Students who spend additional time on reading education in the summer month augment their skills when returning to school. When children are not practicing their educational skills they tend to fall behind."

Don't give your child's brain a summer break - work it right through the summer with any number of programs available throughout the country and right in your own backyard. Here are some options to explore to keep your child in peak academic performance over the summer and into the next school year.


Find local opportunities for kids to "Stretch the Pizza"


Beyond the New York City area: Gear up for a summer adventure

There are numerous companies that offer summer academic programs held at universities around the country. One example is SuperCamp. It has seven- to 10-day programs that offer academic skills including study strategies, math, reading, writing, note-taking using Mind Mapping®, memory building, and SAT review. Call 800-285-3276.


Brown University

Providence, RI

August 1-7


Kent State University

Kent, OH

July 25-31


Loyola Marymount

Los Angeles, CA

July 13-19


San Jose State

San Jose, CA

July 3-9


UC Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

August 8-14


University of South Florida

Tampa, FL

July 27 - August 2


Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC

July 13-19



Please use this list as a beginning resource guide to academic summer programs but not as an endorsement.  

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