Sunrise of Philadelphia

Philadelphia, Pa.

Child in art classWe started a new program at Francis Scott Key School in July of 2016. All parties involved, including staff had some reservations about how a pilot free literacy program would work. In the middle of summer, with new faces and no formal relationships. Our youth were hesitant about the curriculum when we first presented it to them. They thought that had been signed up for a Summer School. We had explained our mission to them, to combat the phenomenon named “Summer Slide” using fun literacy techniques. As you could imagine, they were enthusiastic at the prospect. Yes, we would read books, but we also strengthened their literacy through other techniques. Using speech, we created dialogue and healthy debate about a topic from life or a book. Through writing, we explored their thoughts and dreams. Through listening, we learned how to be patient and to ponder. We started our summer program with half smiles and apprehensions. We ended our summer program with laughter and excitement for what would come in the school year. We succeeded in our mission; we fought “Summer Slide” and won. We measured our youth’s reading levels through the Read by 4th metric at both ends of the program. Their levels went up an average of two letter levels.

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