It’s fun to head for the playground when school is out, but one slide to avoid is the “summer slide.” That’s the tendency for students, especially those from low-income families, to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year. With support from The Rainwater Charitable Foundation and United Way campaign donations, United Way of Tarrant County is helping children avoid the slide by funding summer reading programs for pre-K-3rd grade through five organizations. The programs will benefit 210 youth and 130 adults.
“Each program is using a different curriculum and program formats, but each one will include similar best practices,” said United Way Community Development Vice President LaToya Stewart. These include:
- A balanced and evidence-based approach that includes components such as reading aloud, writing and vocabulary development.
- Involvement of family members who will receive tools to help their children become proficient readers.
- Program staff with strong literacy experience.
- Strong partnerships with schools, nonprofits, libraries and others.
- Ability to track and report reading progress.
All of the programs will track changes in the children’s reading skills through assessments made before and after the programs.
In East Arlington, low-income K-3rd grade girls will enjoy a literacy program at Girls Inc. four hours a day for three days a week during June and July. Most of the girls are English Language Learners. The program has detailed objectives by grade level, and family members will be very involved.
An intensive two-week program called My Books and My Shoes Take Me Places will serve below-grade-level readers in grades 1-3 in the Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD at BridgesWork. Certified teachers will facilitate sessions that include literacy and art. Literacy sessions that involve family members also will be included.
Through the YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth, a nationally-recognized summer literacy program will benefit 50 adults and 60 students in K-3 who are reading below grade-level in White Settlement ISD. The 11-week summer camp will deliver the additional support the students need to be proficient in reading by the end of third grade.
The Freedom School, a program sponsored by Tarrant Churches Together, will serve girls moving into grades 1-5 in the north Evans corridor in Fort Worth. The holistic 6-week literacy program will devote three hours of every weekday to building reading ability and cultivating a love for reading, but it also will focus on self-confidence.
The Reading Partners organization is expanding its national 1:1 literacy tutoring program at Briscoe Elementary in Fort Worth to serve high-need students in summer school. The classic Reading Partners model pairs students with a volunteer tutor for 1:1 literacy intervention services. Each student will receive four 45-minute sessions of tutoring each week for six weeks.