“Children not reading at grade level by the beginning of fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school,” said Barbara Lurie, co-founder and executive director of Kids Read Now, speaking at the recent Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting in Chicago.
This sobering fact, Lurie noted, is the outcome of the “summer reading slide,” in which students who don’t read recreationally lose ground in reading ability over the summer. That means they start the subsequent school year at a disadvantage compared to children who do read during their break.
Through its CGI Commitment to Action, Kids Read Now has committed to helping stop the summer slide with an expansion of its summer program focused on first through third graders. This expansion includes regular data collection focusing on student reading levels, yielding real-time data that will allow the program to measure the results of its efforts and make improvements as it grows.
Lurie announced this commitment at CGI America, an annual event focused on finding solutions that promote economic recovery in the United States. Kids Read Now, a 501(c)3 supported by the One Call Now Foundation, began in 2011 with seven schools in western Ohio, working to improve reading levels among this population. The program expansion would bring the program to a wider area, giving more children the opportunity to improve their reading skills during those critical summer months.
The Kids Read Now program provides books for participating children to read and keep, allowing them to start a personal library that grows as they do. Student progress is tracked with weekly phone calls made to families through the One Call Now message notification system. Participants receive interactive phone calls, text messages, and smart phone app messages.
Kids Read Now will continue to improve its program with help from wide-scale data collections initiatives. The program will conduct a multilevel study of over 1,800 students using the NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) evaluation. The group will then use this data to track student progress and continue to refine the program to develop the most effective ways to combat summer reading loss.
Lurie expects that this increased commitment from Kids Read Now will reach over 18,000 first through third grade students in southwest Ohio by 2015.
“We were excited to announce this expanded commitment to improving reading retention levels at the CGI America meeting,” Lurie said. “The event was a wonderful opportunity to reach other global leaders addressing some of the difficult problems in our world, gaining exposure for Kids Read Now and forming the relationships that will be so important as we continue to grow.”
About One Call Now
One Call Now is America’s largest message notification provider, with schools nationwide using the high-speed, fully redundant service to quickly and easily send messages to thousands of staff and parents simultaneously. Through the One Call Now Foundation, it supports the efforts of Kids Read Now to help stop the summer reading slide and help children in first through third grade learn to read so they can later read to learn.
About CGI America
The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Established in June 2011 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) addresses economic recovery in the United States. CGI America brings together leaders in business, government, and civil society to generate and implement commitments to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, foster innovation, and support workforce development in the United States. Since its first meeting, CGI America participants have made more than 200 commitments valued at $13.4 billion when fully funded and implemented. To learn more, visit cgiamerica.org.