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June 30, 2014
Many children in our community have plenty of colorful picture books and chapter books in the home to choose from, as well as parents with the capacity to read to them each night. Despite this, there are also a number of children in Larimer County who lack access to books at home, and who have over-stressed parents that cannot read to them as much as they would like. Perhaps these parents have an erratic work schedule, or are forced work multiple jobs to provide sufficient income for the family. Thus, “summer slide” is born: an issue that can contribute to the achievement gap between low-income and middle-class children.
Summer slide occurs when the school year ends, and children lose any academic gains that they made that year throughout the summer months. Luckily, Larimer County has many organizations that are working collaboratively to encourage learning to continue all summer long. Fort Collins Read Aloud hosts summer reading programs at Harmony Road Mobile Home Park, Coachlight Apartments, and Olander and Werner Elementary Schools. These programs happen in partnership with Neighbor to Neighbor, Generation Now (through Vineyard Church of the Rockies), Poudre School District, and 4-H's Science Out-of-School program. Poudre River Library District, as well as many local book stores and businesses are also doing their part to provide free story times for children of all ages and income-levels as well. “If you don't use it, you lose it,” says Toby Swaford, Americorps member at Fort Collins Read Aloud. “Summer is a great opportunity to explore new books and discover your favorite genres and authors.” In Loveland, Boys and Girls Club, as well as Maple Terrace Kids Club,also host summer programs to keep the minds of children active and engaged during summer. Of course, all of these programs require a large quantity of volunteers to be successful.
Over the summer, volunteers are needed to read to children one-on-one, conduct story times to model positive reading, as well as facilitate interactive STEM activities. Volunteers can also choose to support work happening behind-the-scenes. These tasks could range from organizing materials to distributing books. “Promoting summer learning is a big job, and it would not be possible without the help of community partners and our volunteers.” Toby says.
United Way of Larimer County's Readers, Tutors, Mentorsvolunteer referral program can help you get connected to the summer learning loss prevention program that best suits you location, skills, and passion. When our schools are struggling to play catch-up with a large portion of our children each year, it affects us all.
Join the community-wide effort to beat summer slide today with Readers, Tutors, Mentors
Copyright 2015 United Way of Larimer County