Continuing Impact: Literacy Lab Tutors Serving Over the Summer


During the school year, Literacy Lab tutors are hard at work helping their students grow into strong readers. But as the school year comes to a close, some students may be at risk of “summer learning loss”  between June and August. Inspired by our core value of Going Above and Beyond, a corps of dedicated Literacy Lab tutors are extending their service year to maximize their impact. These tutors will provide targeted, high-quality tutoring at DCPS Summer School locations to help prevent “summer learning loss.”

The science of the summer slide

Parents, educators, and community members focus on “summer learning loss,” also called the “summer slide,” as the academic year ends. Summer learning loss happens when students who made progress during the year lose some of those gains over the summer. In 2017, the Brookings Institution conducted a review of research on summer learning loss. They found that many students experience a loss of learning between school years. This trend is often linked to socioeconomic status. On average, this results in the loss of a full month of academic progress. However, students who receive high-quality instruction between academic years stand a better chance to stay on track as they head into the next grade level.

Serving in the summer

To combat summer learning loss, our partner schools look for the best solutions possible. In Washington, D.C., The Literacy Lab has partnered with DC Public Schools to ensure our impact carries over to the next school year. Twelve 2017-18 Literacy Lab tutors are continuing their service at three school sites across the District in July. It is important that students receive high-quality tutoring during the off-months from the school year. All of the summer school tutors are stand-outs for their tutoring and commitment to The Literacy Lab. 

The Literacy Lab’s research-based interventions are in line with recommendations for the most effective way to combat summer learning loss. The same study from the Brookings Institution found that “programs were more effective when they used research-based literacy instruction.” Myriam Ambroise, a tutor at Walker-Jones Education Campus is excited to see students continuing to grow over the summer.

More time, more flexibility

Kendall Lorenzen working with a reader on Letter-Sound Correspondence.

Lori Lee and Kendall Lorenzen, two Literacy Lab tutors serving in DCPS over the summer, love the additional flexibility they have in their days to efficiently address the literacy gap. Kendall has appreciated that she is able to keep a waitlist of students. When someone from her usual caseload is absent, she can fill the time block with another reader in need of support. We love that summer school tutors are able to use resources carefully and make the most of their time!

Summer school provides new opportunities for tutors to expand their professional networks and diversify their educational experience, as well! Literacy Lab tutor Andrew Harris served during the 2017-18 school year at Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School in Alexandria, VA. This month, he is tutoring at Walker-Jones Education Campus in D.C. He has enjoyed getting to know other administrators and teachers from a different district.


Working together, we are moving towards our goal of closing the literacy achievement gap for all students. The efforts of the cohort of DC summer school tutors is one powerful tool! If you, or someone you know, is interested in a position as a Literacy Lab tutor check out our application here! It’s never too late to make a difference in the life of a child.