Adding STEAM to Stop the Summer Slide

by Mateo Ibranji

Our mission statement here at BookSpring has always been centered on helping children and their families achieve a new level of success through reading. We support and inspire parents and caregivers to read aloud and engage with children through language every day, and this summer, we plan to take that even further. With the support of the Austin Independent School District and Reading Is Fundamental’s National Office, we’re piloting a new program in two local elementary schools this year.

A Promising New Literacy Practice

BookSpring is planning on starting our own Read for Success pilot, modeling it after the hugely successful Reading Is Fundamental model, which found that well over half of all students in the schools that participated showed an increase in reading proficiency over the summer, compared to 80% of children showing a loss in reading proficiency in the previous study. This is a fact that cannot go ignored, and we are aiming to achieve a level of success similar to these findings.

What It Is:
Due to the long summer break from school, children often neglect reading and put it to the side, which of course causes a significant decrease in reading proficiency. This is especially true for lower-income families; more than 80 percent of children from economically disadvantaged communities lose reading skills over the summer, and this continuous loss over the summer can add up to 3 years of reading loss by the 5th grade.

Reasons for this include lack of access to books, learning resources, and enrichment opportunities such as trips to the library, bookstore, or museum. BookSpring has vowed to help the children who are disadvantaged, and the summer cannot go ignored if we want to achieve our goals. Read For Success targets the summer break, and it will implement a new method of summer reading that will not only engage children and their families through reading, but it will do so in a fun and active manner.

How It Works:
The method of success behind this summer project lies in letting the kids have greater choice in the books that they read. Today, students may get assigned summer reading books, but there is very little preparation and buildup that goes on, and students often see it as a tedious task instead of something they can look forward to.

Adding STEAM to Reading

This project will make sure that children feel more engaged in their reading, and it will do so by having a 10-week preparation period in which second grade teachers begin to implement STEAM related activities (Science, Technology, Engineeering, Arts, and Math) and lessons in which they introduce a variety of books, which BookSpring will supply. Then at the end of the school year, each student will get to choose 8 books that they will read over the summer, and as the previous studies show, this will tremendously help the student’s reading proficiency and they will be ready to move on to the next level at the beginning of the next calendar year.

A New Direction for Book Ownership

BookSpring is ready to commit to one of our biggest book donation projects yet, and we are ready to combat the summer learning deficiency in today’s schools. With this project, we are confident that students will look at reading in a new way, not as a tedious task that they have to complete but instead as a fun and rewarding experience that will connect them further to their families. These goals represent what BookSpring is all about, and we hope that you are as excited as we are to embark on this new reading adventure for our kids.


Adding STEAM to Stop the Summer Slide
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Adding STEAM to Stop the Summer Slide

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