This month, summer reading program Kids Read Now will give away 9,000 books to 1,200 students across America. Now in its third year, Kids Read Now is leading the charge to keep students reading over summer break. More importantly, it hopes to end what educators call “summer slide,” the sharp decline in student reading and retention levels over summer months.
This mission goes beyond simply keeping children occupied. Research by the National Summer Learning Association shows that students lose an average of two months’ worth of learned instruction over the summer. This loss tends to be even more severe among children from lower-income families. By the ninth grade, summer slide accounts for roughly two-thirds of reading achievement gaps, a disparity that presents serious ramifications for SAT performance, college eligibility, and other far-reaching achievement markers.
Spending time reading can reverse this trend. That’s where Kids Read Now comes in: an independent study conducted by Urbana University found that reading fluency grew over summer 2011 for all Kids Read Now students—and third-graders’ DIBELS scores increased 10.4 percent. Students who did not participate in the program experienced far less improvement.
“Children who can’t read at a fourth-grade level by the beginning of fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of school than those who can,” says Barb Lurie, cofounder of Kids Read Now. “Reading is the most important skill parents can teach their children.”
The Kids Read Now program works in coordination with participating schools. Families start the summer with their first two books, and children receive weekly phone calls or text messages checking in on their progress, courtesy of One Call Now’s messaging notification service. If a child has read a book and completed a corresponding activity, he or she can enter a code by phone—and receive a new book to read by mail.
The effort is jointly funded by the One Call Now Foundation, the United Way, Optimists International, and private donations. All organizers request are students’ test scores (to track achievement before and after summer), and for teachers to help children choose books and enter their information online. There is no program cost to schools or families.
One Call Now has pledged $1 million over 5 years to Kids Read Now. The program is just one of the ways the message notification provider helps support the mission of the educator, even after the school year ends. Thanks to this sponsorship, Kids Read Now and its partner schools look forward to another successful summer. For more information, visit http://www.kidsreadnow.org.
About One Call Now
One Call Now is America’s largest message notification provider, with 20 percent of American households—55 million Americans—depending on the company for messages that protect, inform, and engage. Schools nationwide use One Call Now’s high-speed, fully redundant service to quickly and easily send messages to thousands of staff and parents simultaneously. Founded in 2002, One Call Now was recently named as a District Administration Top 100 Product for Schools and to Inc. Magazine’s Honor Roll, having made its list of the fastest growing privately held companies in America for five consecutive years. One Call Now is proud to support the Mission of Educators through partnerships with anti-bullying organization Olweus, sponsorship of The Million T-Shirt March Against Bullying, free levy calls for schools, and KidsReadNow.org, One Call Now’s national summer reading program designed to stop the summer reading slide in elementary schools. For more information, please visit www.onecallnow.com.