SummerREADS is a drop-in summer literacy program that combines reading activities, free meals, and hands-on workshops for students across Baltimore City at libraries renovated through The Baltimore Library Project. Research confirms that reading at grade-level is an important indicator for future academic and life success and that students in grades K-3 are especially susceptible to “summer slide” (learning loss over the summer months). The goal of SummerREADS is to provide students with safe, welcoming spaces, enabling them to develop and sustain their reading skills during the summer months.
The program is geared toward students entering grades K-3, but students entering grades K-5 may attend. To date, SummerREADS has served more than 2,800 students. Maryland Out of School Time Network (MOST) administered the program from 2014 to 2016, and Young Audiences has hosted SummerREADS for the last three years. A variety of organizations have provided a total of nearly 3,000 hours in the form of workshops and direct engagement with students within each of the libraries. These organizations include Art with a Heart, Blue Water Baltimore, BookNook, FutureMakers, Irvine Nature Center, Maryland Book Bank, Maryland Science Center, Maryland SPCA, The National Aquarium, Playworks, Port Discovery Children’s Museum, and The Y of Central MD.