Last year, El Dorado Elementary School teacher Nikki Thornton-Street set out to help her second-graders avoid summer reading loss. With grant and volunteer support from the Education Fund’s Literacy Program, she introduced Project W.O.R.D.S: Working on Reading During the Summer and 94% of students maintained or advanced beyond their end-of-year scores. Based on her program’s success, we’re expanding it this summer to two other high-need elementary schools served by our Literacy Program — Dr. Charles Drew College Preparatory Academy and Dr. George Washington Carver Elementary School.
On average, low-income student lose more than two months of reading skills, but Ms. Thornton-Street’s students we able to beat the odds. She trained summer program staff in Interactive Read Alouds so that students would receive quality literacy instruction four times per week. Ms. Thornton Street and the school’s Literacy Coach Lindsay Hatfield also pulled groups of kids for reading groups daily. They engaged parents through an initial meeting and commitment form, encouraging them to read the books they sends home with their kids. The success of her program last year has encouraged Ms. Thornton-Street to continue and expand it. At El Dorado, more summer program staff have signed up to receive the training. She’s also training and providing ongoing support for summer program staff at Dr. Charles Drew College Preparatory Academy and Dr. George Washington Carver Elementary School. At all three schools, summer program staff will deliver daily Interactive Read Alouds and many of our Literacy Program Volunteers from the school year will offer additional one-on-one support for students.