According to Readers 2 Leaders President and CEO Norma Nelson,
After a normal summer break, students often experience the ‘summer slide:’ a tendency to lose academic gains made during the previous school year. This phenomenon disproportionately affects low-income students, and with the extended break due to COVID-19, researchers estimate that students will begin the 2020-21 school year with just 70% of their skills retained compared to a normal break.
Now more than ever, Readers 2 Leaders’ high-quality, high-dosage literacy tutoring programs are crucial to keeping Dallas students on track. Our mission is to develop and grow the reading skills of underserved Dallas children ages 3-12 so they succeed in school and graduate prepared to live productive lives. Until third grade, students learn to read; in fourth grade, they must read to learn. Readers 2 Leaders provides children with literacy support at the precise moment in their educational careers when they need it most. We believe that it is essential to encounter students in the early elementary years so they have the greatest chance of catching up to their peers and staying on track to graduate from high school and pursue college and career opportunities
Despite challenges introduced by COVID-19, we are confident in our ability to continue offering the creative and rigorous programs that our students and families expect and enjoy from Readers 2 Leaders. Our nine years of experience have equipped our team to serve students in the midst of difficult circumstances.
As soon as schools closed in March, we began adapting our programs to the pandemic’s challenges by prioritizing accessibility and creativity. Starting March 16, Readers 2 Leaders began providing our students and families with access to online literacy learning tools. Our team launched a 2-hour educational, online show that aired three times per week focused on reading, enrichment, and movement. Readers 2 Leaders’ Virtual Summer Camp provided 653 hours of small group and one-on-one instruction to 43 students with an attendance rate of 82%!
This Fall, we remain both committed and hopeful. As schools across Dallas prepare to begin the year, Readers 2 Leaders continues to work with all of our partners, developing program plans that complement those of our school partners while prioritizing the safety of our students and staff.
No matter the circumstances, we remain dedicated to helping Dallas students read on-level so they are prepared to thrive in school and beyond.
* Graphic/photo provided by Readers 2 Leaders