Ready.Set.READ! – – a community initiative designed to improve early grade reading proficiency and managed by United Way of Berks County — has awarded summer learning grants to 12 local organizations totaling more than $54,400, which represents an increase of over $17,000 that was awarded to 8 organizations last year. In 2018, more than 1,600 pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade students benefited from the funded summer programs.
Each grant supports summer learning programming featuring a literacy component serving Berks County Title 1 students, PreK and up to and including 3rd grade. Recipients and their respective programs follow:
– 10th & Penn Elementary: Students will participate in a variety of literacy, arts and STEAM activities.
– Amanda E. Stout Elementary School: STEAM Summer Camp will engage students to retain an academic mindset over the summer, focusing on literacy and critical thinking, as well as incorporate weekly nutrition lessons.
– Berks County Intermediate Unit: Childcare programs will feature STEM kits during the summer months.
– Brandywine Heights Area School District: The district’s elementary school’s summer book club will feature core literacy components to enhance fluency and comprehension for students.
– Daniel Boone Area Primary Center: Teachers in the Park will support summer learning through its “Literacy Leaders” program and embed literacy and learning activities where children play.
– Governor Mifflin School District: Students will explore an early learning environment, with a focus on developing literacy skills, in the district’s “Kindergarten Countdown” program.
– Lauer’s Park Elementary: A school and family STEM program includes modeled read alouds, field trips and promoting family, home-based literacy activities.
– Muhlenberg Elementary Center: Literacy activities will be coordinated with the district’s summer food program.
– Olivet Boys & Girls Club: The Pollinator Garden Project will add literacy and learning activities while children learn about the plant and pollination process.
– Reading Public Library: The library’s “Summer STEAM @ RPL” will support programs centered on a mobile technology van delivering programming to “book deserts”, or areas within the city located outside of walking distance to any library branch.
– YMCA of Reading & Berks County: Children will participate in reading and STEAM activities designed to evoke creativity and problem-solving skills.
– Yocum Institute of Arts Education: Its Summer Arts Connection Camps provides scholarships for students to participate in literacy/arts experiences, including plays, art projects and dance.
The grant opportunity was available to Ready.Set.READ! (RSR) partner schools, Summer Learning Coalition members and other organizations serving Berks County Title 1 students and were awarded through a competitive process based on a review by a panel of community volunteers,
including Ready.Set.READ! and United Way of Berks County board and committee members. Each organization could request up to $5,000.
“We are pleased to have the ability to expand our investment in these summer learning grants, as it translates into more students having the opportunity to experience summer learning activities and lessen the learning loss while not in school,” says Dr. Yamil Sanchez Rivera, Senior Vice President of Community Impact at United Way of Berks County.
United Way and the Summer Learning Coalition has again compiled a county-wide summer learning activity directory, which is now available in 2-1-1, a community information and referral service, and available. “All families are encouraged to learn more about summer learning by calling 2-1-1 or by texting your zip code to 898211,” shares Sanchez Rivera. In 2018, over 155 summer learning programs were included in the 2-1-1 database; additional programs are expected to be included this year.