Research spanning more than 10 decades states that students fall behind when they are out of school over the summer. This problem increases for low-income students who lose an average of more than two months in reading progress over the summer. Second graders who fall into this category are then delayed with their progress toward third grade reading proficiency. According to research, third graders who are not reading at grade level are among the most vulnerable to drop out of school later.
One way to address this problem is to get students to read more. To this end, the United Way Engagement Center is working with various companies and organizations to develop literacy kits for second graders to use now and over the summer. Recently, the Center worked with Case Western Reserve University Delta Upsilon Western Reserve Chapter fraternity to create literacy kits for second graders at Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s investment school Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) Academy. FDR is one of the 25 schools United Way is “wrapping” with social services to address students’ physical, social and emotional needs to clear barriers to learning.
The Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland is the lead agency for FDR which means they have invested human capital and other resources to address students’ needs. The literacy kits will address students’ educational needs. Literacy kits include grade-level books and a collection of other academic resources and activities constructed to make reading fun and enjoyable for young children.
More than a dozen Delta Upsilon Western Reserve Chapter fraternity brothers participated in the FDR literacy kit volunteer activity, “I thought this project was an amazing opportunity to have a real and lasting impact on a student in the Cleveland area. I’ve always said that reading is the most important skill students learn in elementary school. It opens so many doors for your future and lays the foundation for success in anything you chose to do with your life. So being able to provide students with a tool to help them learn this crucial skill is very rewarding. I know I speak for all the brothers who helped when I say it was a very meaningful project” said Robert Kitson, Delta Upsilon Western Reserve Chapter vice president of service. The literacy kits were donated to two FDR second grade classes.
Find out how you or your organization can get involved with United Way of Greater Cleveland by contacting Shenise Johnson-Thomas, Director, Engagement Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit unitedwaycleveland.org/engagement.