There’s no time like the present to focus on literacy, especially as school is letting out and giving way to summer, a season of sun and fun, but also a time when many students take a break from school work and let their literacy skills lapse until school starts back up again.
Literacy is a critical component when predicting the future success of students. According to research, the implementation of a reading slide prevention program can drastically reduce intervention costs resulting from summer learning loss.
Studies show that the end of third grade and beginning of fourth grade is a crucial time in a scholastic career. Children who are not proficient at reading by this point are four times as likely to drop out of school than their better-read peers.
Those who cannot read at an eighth-grade level have a more difficult time reading newspapers (most written at a ninth-grade level) to find or apply for jobs. Add in the additional challenges for those from low-income homes, and those same students are thirteen times more likely to drop out of school.
Studies estimate that up to two thirds of incarcerated individuals read at the lowest levels or are functionally illiterate. Recidivism is much higher for those who have not improved their reading as opposed to those that have. Seventy percent of poor readers will end up back in jail, as opposed to sixteen percent that read well.
Summer reading programs work to reverse the effects of the summer reading slide and keep literacy levels rising in the off-school months.
In looking for an effective summer reading program ask these questions make sure you are choosing a program that drives results:
- Is the program data-driven?
- Is the program built on accepted and proven research methods?
- What results can you expect to see?
- Is the program driven by the ability for students to select their own books?
- Are there incentives and rewards built in to encourage engagement?
- Is there established grant funding available to offset the cost of the program?
By working with children in the vital K-3 years, summer reading programs set the foundation for a love of literacy that can carry into future years and keep children eager to read and learn as they continue through school and later in life.
Leib and Barbara Lurie established Kids Read Now as a 501(C)(3) nonprofit in 2010 to eliminate the summer reading slide and reversing the effects of low literacy. Kids Read Now has provided more than 200,000 books free of charge to more than 14,000 K-3 students in three states and is continuing to expand nationwide.