According to the research of National Summer Learning Association, the “summer slide” is what often happens to disadvantaged children during the summer months. The same research shares 9 out of 10 teachers spend at least three weeks re-teaching lessons at the start of the school year. There are many ways to combat Summer Slide, but one of the top options is by children participating in
high-quality summer programming.
United Way recognizes this need and offers Summer Learning Grants, up to $5,000,to Ready.Set.READ! (RSR)* partner schools and other organizations serving Berks County Title 1 students. These grants are awarded through a competitive process based on a review by a panel of community volunteers.
Virginia Rush, a member of the Summer Learning grants committee and a RSR Board member, recently visited the Reading branch of the YMCA to see The Reading Public Library’s (RPL) program in action. The RPL brings STEAM to various youth programs in Reading. They also offer books that focus on STEAM and critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity to spark curiosity at home. The children at the YMCA read several books about bugs and created a related craft projects.
Virginia shared why she believes Summer Learning grants are important: “I am very interested in child development and that is why I am happy to have a part in ensuring all children have a fair opportunity.”
Throughout the summer, Ashley Chambers, United Way’s Senior Vice President of Community Impact, and her team visited the 10 grant recipients. Chambers and her team were excited to see the children learning first-hand. “You can read an application 100 times but not really understand the impact until you see things in action,” she said. “Probably the most impactful thing was seeing the children at 16th and Haak Elementary show how they had learned to code [computers] using a laptop and Legos. These children are highly engaged and gaining skills they may use for a future career.”
Learn more about Summer Learning Grants and the recipients here.
*Ready.Set.READ! is managed by United Way of Berks County