United Way Berks awards $50K in effort to help kids avoid summer learning loss

United Way of Berks County’s Ready.Set.READ! initiative helps improve early grade reading proficiency. To support this work, the organization announced 13 Summer Learning Grants totaling $51,364. The 2024 grants will benefit over 1,160 children, ages PreK and up to and including third grade.

These grants, each including a literacy component, support programming designed to maintain learning opportunities during the summer school break and help avoid summer slide. Many sources state students may experience one to three months of learning loss in one summer, with children from lower-income families experiencing the greatest loss. Grant recipients include:

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10th & Penn Elementary School: The 10th & Penn Summer Learning Experience will continue the students’ education throughout the summer in an effort to minimize summer slide, maintain gains, and close gaps while also giving the students enriching experiences to expand students’ interests and be formative to potential career pathways.

12th & Marion Elementary School: 12th & Marion Elementary School- Summer School keeps students engaged in literacy and math over the summer while providing them with unique field trips and experiences.

16th & Haak Elementary School: Read Knights Are Rocking Reading & Writing 2024 promotes literacy strategies for students and families within the 16th & Haak School community.

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13th & Union Elementary School: Summer School will continue to support and advance students’ reading skills.

Amanda E Stout Elementary School: Summer Fun 2024 will continue summer learning by providing hands on activities supplemented with books related to the weekly topic.

Boyertown Community Library: Boyertown Community Library Summer Reading Program, called “All Together Now,” will encourage children and teens, from birth to 18, to continue reading over the summer months.

Brandywine Heights Elementary School: Camp SPARK provides targeted learning opportunities that will remediate and enrich skills focused on literacy with the use of a research-based intervention program.

Brecknock Elementary School: Curious Kids in the Community will engage students in extended summer learning to enhance literacy and numeracy skills through fun and practical hands-on learning activities with their peers.

Daniel Boone Area Primary Center: BEAR- Be Excited About Reading! will increase student reading on independent reading level outside of summer school hours.

Lauer’s Park Elementary School: the High Frequency Words program will build meaningful relationships, expose students to high quality instruction, and provide structured play, rooted in social-emotional learning, to provide a seamless transition into kindergarten.

Mt. Penn Primary Center: Mini Mounts Adventure Camp will offer Language & Literacy for Spanish Speaking Learners, an 11-week program for preschool and pre-k children that provides specialized instruction and resources for the home for children whose primary language spoken in the home is Spanish.

Opportunity House: the childcare program will provide a kid-friendly course on electronics and robotics to 12 local 2nd/3rd graders with the final goal of constructing and programming their own controllable robot arm.

Schuylkill Valley Community Library: Summer Quest 2024 – Explore Our World will inspire families and children to explore our world through literature, programs and experiences. The grant opportunities 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.

“United Way is pleased to expand our community investment in summer learning opportunities and allow more students to have access to activities that help lessen learning loss throughout the summer months,” says Ashley Chambers, Senior Vice President of Community Impact at United Way of Berks County.

United Way and educational and community partners also work together to compile a county-wide summer learning activity directory, which is available through 211, a community information and referral service, and available to families by calling 211, texting your zip code to 898211 or by visiting pa211east.org.

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