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YOUR IMPACT REPORT: Spotlight on Summer Reads

It's called the summer slide. While the name may sound fun, this phenomenon is anything but...

The summer slide is a loss of academic skills that occurs in elementary students during summer break. It's been linked to achievement gaps in higher grades and occurs most often with underprivileged children who lack access to summertime enrichment opportunities.
 
Enter Summer Reads.

Now in its 17th year, this Minnesota Literacy Council program served 2,094 children last summer. At schools, libraries and nonprofits, our cohort of 58 VISTAs (Volunteers in Service to America) provided educational and fun interventions. What were VISTA member Mitch's favorite learning activities? The "fly swatter game" (watch it in action in our video above), flashcards, scavenger hunts, 1-1 reading and bingo.

The Results
Of children evaluated at the beginning and end of summer:
  • 78% maintained or improved their words-per-minute reading
  • 85% maintained or increased their sight words
  • 83% maintained a positive attitude about reading (or showed enthusiasm for reading where there had previously been little)
So long, summer slide!
 
Would you or someone you know make a good Summer Reads VISTA? Benefits include personal and professional development, leadership opportunities and the chance to make a difference. See what it was like for VISTAs Crystal and Mitch, and join the 2016 Summer Reads VISTA team. (Applications due April 30.)
 
3 thank yous!
{Our work is possible thanks to your generous support for literacy.}
THANK YOU TO...
2016-17 VISTA host site selection team

Thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers and staff, we selected 25 partner organizations 12 of them new  to host Literacy VISTAs for one year starting in August. These VISTAs will work behind the scenes to create, enhance or expand literacy-focused programming. Check out the sites and position descriptions!
THANK YOU TO... 
Minnesota Philanthropy Partners

In a presentation to board and staff, Suzanne Kelly of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners shared how her organization has prioritized racial equity in external and internal processes like grantmaking, hiring and vendor selection. We are grateful to learn from their work and experience.
THANK YOU TO... 
Civically engaged Minnesotans

According to a recent study on volunteering and civic life in America, Minnesota ranks fourth among the 50 states and Washington D.C. for volunteer rates. In 2014, 35.3% of residents said they volunteered. Minnesotans give money generously, too: 60.6% reported donating at least $25 to charity!
 
On our wish list : Children's books
{You can make us stronger by giving goods, funds or services.}
In 2015 we gave away 17,708 children's books – many of them through our Summer Reads program. Because our goal this year is to put 20,000 books in the hands of low-income kids, our inventory could use a boost!

La Quinta Inn & Suites is stepping up to the challenge: they've offered to host a book drive through May 31. Donate a new or gently used children's book at their Minneapolis-Minnetonka hotel, and you'll receive a voucher for 10% off a future stay at this location.

 
Hope to see you!
{Mark your calendar for upcoming events.}

Journeys Reading at The Loft Literary Center


Save the date for our annual Awards Ceremony and Journeys Reading: Thursday, May 26, 2016 at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. If you haven't yet attended this inspiring, free event, you owe it to yourself to be there!

ABOUT THE EVENT:
Learners from statewide Adult Basic Education programs will read their original stories and poetry published in our 2016 Journeys anthology. A reception will follow.
Online registration opens to the public on April 26. At that time, please visit our Journeys Reading page and follow the event registration links to reserve your seat.
GIVE THE GIFT OF LITERACY
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