We all have nostalgic feelings about summer. It should be fun, carefree, and not feel a whole lot like school, right? At the same time, research shows us that summer is a time when children can lose progress in school, especially in math and reading.

Good news is, there are many affordable summer programs that can help kids maintain or improve their academic skills – and do it in a fun and unexpected way. “We try to lift up all different kinds of programs, providing young people with well-rounded learning opportunities,” says Sara Plachta Elliott, Ph.D., executive director of the Youth Development Resource Center. “Summer academic enrichment doesn’t necessarily have to look like school.”

Parents might think about a theatre arts program that lets kids be expressive while teaching them how to read dialogue or write their own play. A robotics program is a great choice for helping kids brush up on their math skills while using their imagination. Many programs gathered by Summer Spark think outside of the rigorous academic box, making learning a blast in the summer.

For children who might need extra help, academic tutoring is an option to consider. When exploring these kinds of opportunities, look for programs with one-on-one attention or a small group setting. This helps children get deeper, more focused attention than they might receive during the regular school year.


5 Summer Academic Enrichment Programs

On the Summer Spark Program Finder, there are a host of programs to spark your child’s academic learning this summer. Here are a few to consider:

  • Brilliant Detroit. From reading programs to field trips, the Center for Success’s program helps kids explore literacy in a new location weekly.
  • Brightmoor Book Squad – FREE. This book club, run by the Brightmoor Artisans Collective, offers summer reading fun in a community setting.
  • Speak out with Theater. Professional artists guide kids through writing activities and acting games at the Matrix Theatre. Campers stage a performance of an original play written by the group.
  • GUPPY (Gifted University for Parents and Precocious Youth). GUPPY offers young, gifted students a variety of exploratory educational presentations and hands-on experiences at Michigan State University.
  • I-CAN Tutoring. The St. Paul Community Lutheran Church in Pontiac is providing evening tutoring and homework help three days a week.

What to Look for:

  • Programs that approach learning in a fun way
  • Regional churches that offer academic summer programs
  • Programs that test at the beginning and end of summer to assess progress
  • Libraries with summer reading programs or book clubs


Ready to find



Your child's program?


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