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May 24, 2018

For the love of reading, all summer long

Reading Partners Los Angeles’ summer reading campaign

The end of the school year is filled with so much excitement and happiness: students have gained so many new skills, formed strong connections with their tutors, and most importantly developed a love for reading that extends beyond the classroom. Our tutors and students alike are honored at our end of year reading celebrations, and students get to leave school for the summer feeling successful and empowered.

With summer fast approaching, a new challenge also arises: how do we support our students when they’re not in school? Many children fall victim to ‘summer slide’ during the few months between school years:

For the nearly 800 students across Los Angeles enrolled in Reading Partners this year, we wanted to support them in combating summer reading loss. By launching our very first summer reading campaign, we pulled together as a community to ensure that our students had access to materials that would keep them reading and maintaining their skills during the summer months.

We incorporated the excitement around our end of year celebrations into our new summer reading campaign by providing tutors and the community as a whole with the option of ‘sponsoring’ a summer reading backpack for one or more students. All students will receive their backpacks at the end of year celebration, and their tutors can see them open and engage with the materials! “We wanted the Los Angeles community to see that their contributions were making a direct impact,” says Executive Director Laura Zachar. “It’s so important to show our supporters that the students will tangibly benefit from the resources they receive.” The backpacks include high-quality, age- and level- appropriate books, notebooks, worksheets, local library resources, and more.

Just 10 days after launching our For The Love Of Reading online campaign, we had reached 50% of our goal. The outpouring of support from the Los Angeles community only spiked from there, and well before the end of the year, we were able to ensure that all of our students had a backpack sponsored by a community member. We have been so blown away by the willingness of our tutors, friends, and supporters to help our students succeed beyond the classroom.

“It has been great to see the students engage with Take Reading Home books all throughout the year and it is so exciting that they will now have that same opportunity all summer long,” shares Jessica Steinert, the senior Americorps site coordinator at Jefferson Elementary. “I love that the summer reading materials will be at each student’s level, because it’s so special to see how much confidence they gain when they can read a book by themselves!” Jessica believes that the backpacks will inspire her students to read over the summer and will help her students start the new school year off strong.

As of May 17th, over 140 supporters have helped us surpass our initial goal, giving us the ability to put additional resources towards next year’s summer reading campaign. The success of this campaign has shown us that when we ask our community to rally around literacy and invest in the success of young students, the response is overwhelming. Our summer reading efforts will continue to develop and expand as we as a community all work together to ensure our students have the resources they need to flourish as readers.

More information can be found on our website: https://donations.readingpartners.org/fortheloveofreading

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