GREENVILLE – Greenville Elementary School is setting up its students for success.
The school welcomed students and parents of grades kindergarten through third to its second annual “Kids Read Now” Summer Reading Program Family Reading Night, May 11. Enrolled students were able to pick up their first three books to start the program. The evening featured dinner, presentations by Magical Storyteller Mark Daniel, and team members and co-creator of “Kids Read Now” Leib Lurie and his dog Ivy.
“Kids Read Now” was created in 2010 by entrepreneur Leib and his wife Reading Specialist and educator Barbara, after reading about the summer reading slide. The “summer slide” is the sharp decline in student reading and retention levels over summer months. Studies show that spending time reading can reverse this trend. An independent study, conducted by the University of Dayton, revealed that students who were in the “Kids Read Now” program last summer, were much less affected by the “summer slide” than students who were not in the program.
“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,” Barbara said. “Reading is the most important skill parents can teach their children.”
Families start the summer with their first three books, and children receive weekly phone calls or text messages checking in on their progress. If a child has read a book and completed a corresponding activity, he or she then receives a new book to read by mail. Tera Huffman and her daughter Landrey enjoy reading and are participants in the program. They also participated last year, which helped prepare Landrey for kindergarten this year, Tera said. Landrey said she loves reading about animals.
“I think it is wonderful they are offering good quality books at no charge for kids during the summer,” Tera said. “They can stay involved in reading and keep practicing their skills.”
According to Greenville Elementary School Assistant Principal Jennifer Statzer, it is important for the school to have the program, because kids need to be reading all through the summer.
“Lots of times we come to June and the students might not read, don’t get to the library or don’t have a big collection of books at home,” she said. “This way new books come to them, and when they are finished they get more new books. It builds excitement, it keeps them reading, and it’s all on their level, which is fantastic because the parents don’t have to worry about the child’s reading level or the appropriateness of a book.”
“In addition, there are resources to guide parents to ask their children questions about what the children are reading, to help with comprehension and fluency,” Statzer said. “It helps us too, because when they come back in the fall, we can pick up right where we left off and they didn’t take that big break from reading for the summer.”
“Kids Read Now” is a 501(c)(3) organization in 36 school districts serving about 14,000 kids, according to Leib. The program is funded by the Greenville City Schools through federal grant money. The cost is $60 per student, but there is no program cost to schools or families.
Greenville City Schools would like to thank the following local sponsors of the reading night: Bread of Life, Greenville City Pool, Dairy Barn, Dairy King, Eikenberry’s, El Camino Mexican Restaurant, Hallmark, Jim’s Hot Dog Stand, Kroger, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Rural King, Taco Bell, Walmart, and Wendy’s.
For more information on the program, visit www.kidsreadnow.org.