As the 2016-2017 school year nears its end, The School District of Philadelphia is distributing free books to approximately 37,000 pre-kindergarten through second grade students across the District in an effort to encourage summer reading.
“We need to do all that we can to ensure the skills our students learn throughout the school year, including reading, are not forgotten or lost over the summer vacation,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent. “We are proud to ensure our students have access to quality reading materials at home so they can practice their reading with their families.”
Before the end of the 2016-2017 school year, students will receive 10 free books and book packs customized by Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company. This week, first grade students at Martha Washington School received their books from District staff, including Dr. Cheryl Logan, Chief of Academic Support for the District, who also read to students. Clifford the Big Red Dog® also visited the school.
The effort is part of a larger, ongoing initiative to counteract learning or reading skill loss during the summer months, known as the “summer slide,” by encouraging students to make a “summer leap” in early literacy skills.
According to research, it is estimated that the “summer slide” accounts for up to 85 percent of the reading achievement gap between lower-income students and their more affluent peers.
“Here at the District, we are laser-focused on early literacy, whether it is through our own efforts to encourage summer reading, the Fund for The School District of Philadelphia’s Right Books Campaign, or the citywide Read by 4th Campaign,” said Hite. “Early literacy is connected to social and emotional development and improved academic success, so it continues to be one of our most important targets.”
More information about the District’s efforts to support early literacy at home can be found online at philasd.org/earlychild/resources-for-parents.