In this study we used spring-to-fall reading achievement data to measure summer gains and losses for a sample of over 300 early elementary school students from high-poverty schools. We combined evidence from a randomized experiment of an academically intensive community-based summer school program with parent telephone survey data regarding the characteristics of the family and the nature of the children's summer activities. Our results suggested that parental expectations, learning activities in the home, and parental effort more generally did not explain much variation in summer achievement. Parental effort to promote regular attendance in summer school, though, did avert summer learning losses. Thus, we suggest that current theories of how family resources can promote summer learning be expanded to include parents' use of summer school and other community-based institutions that support their children's healthy development.
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