Vulnerable Learners

Cooper’s (1996) study (as cited in Graham, McNamara and VanLankveld, 2011, pg.575) indicates that the gap in the learning cycle which occurs during summer vacation is more prominent for children that are less advantaged. Children who are the most susceptible are those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, ethnic minorities and students with exceptionalities ( Graham, 2011; Guryan & Kim, 2010; & Kim, 2006). Further, it is predominantly literacy related skills that are affected the most (Graham,2011).

In a study conducted by Kim (2006) an intervention was designed to provide children with effective summer learning experiences and to improve the reading abilities of minority student’s and struggling readers. The results of the study indicate that the most significant reading gains occurred for disadvantaged students while students from middle to high socio-economic upbringings remained stable on standardized measures of reading (Kim, 2006). Such findings are also consistent with a recent review by Guryan and Kim (2010) whereby a summer reading intervention was implemented for low-income Latino children. Low-income parents often lack the resources to provide children with sufficient reading materials needed to reinforce important literacy skills. Further children who are English language learners need additional exposure to print material, which may be difficult for children in homes where English is not the native language (Guryan and Kim, 2010).