United Way of Berks County awards summer learning grants

More than $50,000 invested to help kids avoid summer learning Loss.

United Way of Berks County’s Ready.Set.READ! initiative helps improve early grade reading proficiency, and as a part of the work, the organization announced 12 Summer Learning Grants totaling $52,850.

These grants 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.

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More than 1,000 children, ages PreK and up to and including 3rd grade, will benefit from the grants awarded by United Way, with each summer learning program featuring a literacy component. Grant recipients include:

10th & Penn Elementary Summer Learning Experience, 12th & Marion Elementary Summer School, 16th & Haak Elementary’s “Reading is Rocking”, Berks Area Youth Recreation, Inc.’s “Bookworm Blast”, helping prepare PreK students to begin, Kindergarten, as well as providing remediation reading skills to struggling kindergarteners.

Boyertown Community Library’s Summer Reading Program, encouraging children of all ages, from birth to 18, to participate in summer reading, Brandywine Area Heights School District’s Camp SPARK, providing targeted learning opportunities to remediate and enrich skills, Governor Mifflin School District’s “Summer Zone” engages children with hands-on literacy and learning activities.

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Lauer’s Park Elementary School’s “For the Love of Reading” focuses on increasing student reading through independent reading level Mt. Penn Primary Center’s “Mini Mounts Kindergarten Adventure” helps provide a seamless transition to begin kindergarten Opportunity House Second Street Learning Center provides specialized resources and activities for children whose primary language in the home is Spanish.

Reading Public Library’s Northeast Summer STEAM program features programming to construct a controllable robot arm. Spring Township Library’s “Summer Quest” offers activities for children and families to explore the 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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