The achievement gap in educational outcomes starts early, widens quickly and creates a divide that is hard - and expensive - to overcome. Research also shows that "on average, summer vacations created a [reading] gap of about 3 months between middle- and lower-class students." (See report mentioned in High Impact below)
"The summer activity that is most consistently related to summer learning is reading."
A big reason kids in low-income households don't learn as much over the summer is because they don't read as much as other kids. Why? Because they don't have access to books at home. It's that simple.
In 2010, researchers in Florida showed that by giving kids the ability to build their own library over their first three summers after 1st grade is a high-impact way to close the reading achievement gap. In fact, kids in a test program for three years averaged a 50 point increase on Florida's achievement test - as big an increase as for kids who went to three years of summer school! You can read the full study here.
For $50 per student, per year, Start Reading Now improves a child's reading skills just as much as other interventions - but at 1/60th of the cost. That's all it takes to help a child build their own library, develop a culture of reading and start a lifetime of greater learning.
Start Reading Now can do all of this work without a lot of new infrastructure. We know how to reach the kids who need us through public schools. We have a partner whose expertise is organizing in-school book fairs, and we work with hundreds of volunteers to make our book fairs possible.
Our focus is on doing what works best for kids, and we want to stay true to that vision. That's why Start Reading Now has partnered with Minneapolis Public Schools to ensure participation in our program is tracked, the impact is measured and you get the value you're looking for as a donor.