Meet Carl, age 8, a participant of Summer Superheroes at BCNY. Carl’s family speaks Mandarin at home, so it was particularly crucial for Carl to continue his English literacy work over the summer to ensure that he entered third grade truly prepared and didn’t fall victim to “summer slide”.
Each summer, thousands of New York City students lose up to two months of learning, returning to school less prepared than when summer began. For low-income students, summer learning loss, or “summer slide,” is even more alarming. Hoping to combat summer slide, BCNY developed Summer Superheroes, an innovative summer literacy intervention program that pairs 1st – 4th graders with teen mentors. Carl’s mentor was Nick, age 15, who received ongoing training while utilizing a curriculum that combines skill-building, one-on-one reading practice, and fun activities to provide literacy support and reinforce classroom learning.
At the end of the summer, Carl was prepared to go back to school and feeling confident. He even had a new favorite book: Plants vs. Zombies: Brains and the Beanstalk. “I like reading!” he announced happily.
The impact of Summer Superheroes is significant: over two-thirds of participants demonstrate improvement, and about a quarter of them complete the program at or above grade level.