Dear Grade Level Reading Coalition,
I hope everyone had a great start to the school year. Here at Grade Level Reading, we believe it’s never too early to start planning for next summer. We’ve reconvened our summer reading group to explore this year’s results and begin working on strategies to increase the number of kids reading daily next summer. An update about last summer’s results is in this newsletter.
Our next Coalition Meeting will be on Wednesday, November 18th from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM at the Family League of Baltimore. I look forward to seeing you all there.
In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or feedback you may have.
What Happened This Summer
This summer, Grade Level Reading worked with the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore City Public Schools and over 35 community organizations to promote the Pratt Summer Reading program. We are truly excited to announce that this year Pratt saw a 6% increase in children completing the program (overall, 35% of participants finished), with participants recording almost 6,000 more days read than in 2014! In addition, those who finished the program, read an average of 50 days, well above the 35 days required. Key drivers for this progress include:
- A revamped prize structure, including tickets for all program finishers to a summer reading celebration at the National Aquarium.
- Distribution of flyers about the program by over 35 community organizations.
- City Schools’ distribution of almost 40,000 summer reading packets to rising K-5th graders across 134 schools. This packet included a tip sheet for parents on ways to encourage reading, the log utilized in the Pratt Program for kids/families to record reading time, and a letter from Dr. Thornton on why reading over the summer is important.
In addition, SummerREADS brought the Pratt Summer Reading Program to nine Weinberg Libraries, serving over 500 students. While we won’t have this summer’s results for a little while, we know that in 2014, on average, kids who participated in the SummerREADS program lessened the effects of the summer slide. This gives us confidence that sustained reading (including programs like the Pratt’s) can help keep kids on track.
While we did not see an increase in overall registration for the Pratt Summer Reading Program, we learned a great deal about how to increase enrollment next summer, including the importance of partnerships with camps and direct outreach to schools by librarians.
Stay tuned for updates about this work in upcoming newsletters.
Expansion of Little Free Library Project to Give Communities Access to Books
This summer, Grade Level Reading, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake, worked with community leaders in Reservoir Hill and Cherry Hill to install five Little Free Libraries to increase access to books in these communities. Community leaders have facilitated reading times around the libraries and have given out over 400 books since their installation in June.
At the request of the Coalition, GLR has been working to understand how to sustain and grow the number of Little Free Libraries. We are pleased to announce that since our last Coalition Meeting, Habitat for Humanity has agreed to continue to build and install Little Free Libraries at a greatly reduced rate! This fall, we plan to install five more Little Free Libraries to develop a model for success. GLR will identify community leaders across the city who are interested in taking ownership of a Little Free Library and will work with them to create ways to infuse literacy into their community and increase access to books.
Attendance Awareness Month
Attendance Awareness Month, which occurs every September, is a time to raise awareness of the importance of attending school on time, every day, ready to learn.
This year, the Baltimore Attendance Collaborative posted an attendance success story for each day of the month in order to highlight the great attendance work going on in our city. Read these stories on their blog, including:
- How literacy and attendance connect
- How AARP Experience Corps Volunteers help improve attendance
- How Armistead Gardens used Pre-K and K orientation to raise awareness of the importance of attendance
Coalition Needs & Happenings Around Town
As a way to stay connected, we will be including Coalition needs in our monthly newsletter. Please let us know if there is a need or announcement you would like the Coalition to know about by emailing Kimberly Manns at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The next GLR Coalition Meeting will be on Wednesday, November 18th from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM at the Family League of Baltimore.
- Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) is seeking a Program Coordinator to provide general support and assist ACY’s child welfare and education efforts. This person is integral to furthering ACY’s education and child welfare policy priorities through robust coalition engagement, grants management, administrative assistance, and other duties as assigned. Learn more.
- Parents of children under the age of 5 in childcare are invited to learn about developmental screening on Tuesday, October 6th from 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM at 3002 Druid Park Drive. This event is presented by the Maryland State Department of Education and University of Maryland Department of Pediatrics. Learn more.
- Join B’more For Healthy Babies at their 6 Year Anniversary Celebration at the National Aquarium on Wednesday, October 14th from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM. Entry into the Aquarium is free. Learn more.
- MOST will hold its 6th annual statewide conference on out-of-school-time at the Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City, Maryland, on January 7th and 8th, 2016. More information can be found here.
- Reading Partners is looking for volunteer tutors to work with struggling readers throughout the school year. Find out more.
- It’s never too early to get ready for summer. Sign up for the National Summer Learning Association’s Summer Changes Everything Conference from October 12th-14th.