$163k in Grants Awarded to Seven Summer Learning Programs to Fight Summer Learning Loss and Improve Reading Scores

Little Rock, Ark. (April 1, 2018) – Seven summer learning programs were recently selected to receive a total of $163,550 in grants from Arkansas Community Foundation’s Summer Learning Initiative. These programs will benefit children in early elementary school by helping them retain what they learned during the school year and improve their ability to read.

“Summer Learning Initiative grants give us the opportunity to make significant investments in helping Arkansas kids take what they learn during the school year and continue making educational gains all summer long,” said Heather Larkin, president and CEO of Arkansas Community Foundation. “Research tells us that a child’s early experiences with reading will influence his or her entire educational career. “

Summer Learning Initiative grants are intended to support and extend the efforts of the Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, which has identified summer learning as one of four key strategies to help Arkansas kids improve their literacy skills by Grade 3. To learn more about their work, visit 

"The Summer Learning Initiative will also demonstrate how existing funding sources such as Title I and NSLA can be used to support quality summer learning programs and help schools and districts meet their goals for children reading on grade-level,” said Angela Duran, campaign director for the Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

Summer Learning Initiative grants were awarded to: 
  • Booneville School District ($20,000) – to support the “Summer Learning Program” serving 80 children, a four-week initiative that will use research-based methods to increase exposure to vocabulary and instill a love of reading.
  • Brandon House Cultural & Performing Arts Center in Little Rock ($29,500) – to support “Write it Right,” a seven-week program that provides a mix of literacy instruction and enrichment activities which serves 45 children from Stephens Elementary.
  • Clinton School District ($24,000) – to support “PAWS” for Reading, which will serve 74 children during a three-week program using evidence-based program “Muttigrees” that engages students in a creative curriculum designed around empathy for animals. 
  • Drew Central Elementary School in Monticello ($29,500) – to support Camp “Learn-A-Lot” serving 40 children, a three-week program that uses a camping theme to focus on early reading foundational skills necessary to build successful readers.  
  • Horatio Elementary School ($16,550) – to support “R.O.A.R. Time” serving 40 children, a six-week program with an emphasis on literacy instruction.  Literacy skills will be reinforced through the integration of STEM, Art/Music, Nutrition/Wellness and parent engagement activities.  
  • Life Skills for Youth in Little Rock ($24,000) – to support a collaboration with AR Kids Read to serve 80 children during a seven-week program to advance literacy through community engagement and tutoring.  LSY programming is built on a three-tier foundation:  Education, Social & Emotion Learning and Recreation.
  • North Little Rock School District ($20,000) – to support “Wildcats on Wheels,” a mobile unit that will serve all four wards of the city.  This is a creative way to put books in the hands of approximately 625 children and their families; in addition, STEM activities, arts and crafts, and nutrition education will be incorporated.  

Arkansas Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that fosters smart giving to improve communities. The Community Foundation offers tools to help Arkansans protect, grow and direct their charitable dollars as they learn more about community needs. By making grants and sharing knowledge, the Community Foundation supports charitable programs that work for Arkansas and partners to create new initiatives that address the gaps.  Since 1976, the Community Foundation has provided more than $179 million in grants and partnered with thousands of Arkansans to help them improve our neighborhoods, our towns and our entire state. Contributions to the Community Foundation, its funds and any of its 28 affiliates are fully tax deductible.

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