About 66 percent of the ninth grade achievement gap can be explained by the learning experiences — and learning declines — that occur in summer during elementary school. Over the summer, middle- and upper-income children continue to improve reading skills, while children living in poverty do not.
For 8 weeks each summer, our Summer Reads VISTAs work with kindergarten through 3rd grade children in communities across Minnesota to help them maintain or improve their reading skills. The program targets neighborhoods where high percentages of children are living in poverty and schools with high numbers of students who are reading below grade level. VISTA members provide one-to-one and small group literacy tutoring or integrate literacy in creative ways into enrichment activities in schools, libraries and community programs.
- 79% of children who participated in Summer Reads improved or maintained literacy skills.
- 85% of children maintained or increased sight word recognition.
- 95% of supervisors reported that during summer programming, the children the VISTAs worked with overall demonstrated an increased interest in reading, writing and learning.
- 100% of VISTAs reported that Summer Reads helped them grow personally and professionally.
- More than 6,000 books were read.