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#25DaysOfGiving: Give the Gift of Literacy

Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis said it best: “There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”

But for a child reading below grade level, a book can seem like an unapproachable, daunting challenge. At Communities In Schools of Durham, we work to instill a love of reading in every child by matching each student with a specific reading curriculum tailored to their interests through the READS for Summer Learning program.

“We know from talking with teachers that most students would like to be high-level readers,” says Meredith Richbourg, READS Specialist. “By partnering with students in their own success—for example, by showing students the increases in reading level that they could experience through active participation in READS for Summer Learning—students may feel more agency and motivation.”

On average, an economically disadvantaged student can lose two months of reading skills during a summer break—and that accounts for about 60 percent of the reading-achievement gap. If a student isn't reading at grade level by third grade, research shows they are significantly less likely to graduate.

“This makes a lot of sense when you think about the role of literacy in elementary classrooms,” Meredith says. “From kindergarten to third grade, students are still learning how to read. … In fourth grade and beyond, however, students are expected to use their literacy skills to gain information in all school subjects—by reading a science textbook or a map legend in social studies, for example.”

The READS Reading Routine is a structured reading comprehension strategy that helps students think about what they read before, during, and after reading, while also engaging parents and guardians to support their students. By offering this program, CIS Durham has reached thousands of students, setting them up for future success in school and in life. But we couldn't do it without our community members. It's investments from our supporters that lets us bring this crucial program to Durham's youth, and a little goes a long way. A gift of $1,000 can provide a year-long literacy program for 100 students reading below grade level.

Join us during our #25DaysOfGiving and consider making an online donation to enrich the lives of our students.

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