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How We're Using Data to Help More Students Read
/ November 8, 2017

Only 37% of Arkansas third graders read proficiently, according 2016-2017 school year data from the ACT Aspire assessment. 

Thirty-seven percent. 

A mountain of education research confirms that third grade reading levels are a strong predictor of future success in school and beyond. So what can we do to move these numbers in the right direction? 

The Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is working to advance some simple, evidence-based strategies to achieve the goal that every child in Arkansas will read at grade level by the end of third grade. Arkansas Community Foundation has announced a partnership with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading to make grants targeted at those five strategies. As a part of that partnership, we’re supporting programs the keep kids reading throughout the summer months; we call it our Summer Learning Initiative. 

Why does summer learning matter?
When students are away from school over summer break, many of them – especially those from low-income backgrounds – lose as much as two to three months of reading skills. This “summer slide” can set kids as much as three years behind their peers by the end of elementary school. 

What is the Community Foundation doing? 
Each year for the past three years, we’ve offered funding for communities across Arkansas that are hosting high-quality summer camps that keep kids engaged during the summer months through academic and social enrichment. 

Hot Springs YMCA - 2016
Booneville School District - 2016
Ouachita Children's Center - 2016
Park Avenue Elementary School in Stuttgart - 2016
Mt. Judea Area Alliance - 2016

What results are we seeing?
We’re seeing exciting results from the communities participating in the Summer Learning Initiative. In Year 1 of the program, 

What have we learned? 
Not only are these programs having a positive impact on students’ literacy scores; they’re also having a positive impact on behavior and students’ sense of belonging at school, according to the administrators participating in the program. It’s a win-win! 

What can you do? 

If you’re interested in supporting the Summer Learning Initiative or other efforts to increase reading scores in Arkansas, contact us at 501-372-1116. 

Until November 17, Arkansas Community Foundation is accepting proposals for Summer Learning Initiative. This program will provide for innovative summer learning programs that increase reading proficiency for pre-K - 3rd graders in Arkansas. To learn more and apply, click here

Apply for a Summer Learning Initiative Grant

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