Charlotte, NC (PRWEB) September 05, 2013
While many Charlotteans indulged in traditional summer recreation, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte was hard at work, preparing children for academic success through their nationally renowned Y Readers literacy program. Using the STAR Reader test, the Y reports that 86 percent of its 492 Y Readers participants improved or maintained their reading proficiency as a result of the six-week summer program. In fact, the rising first, second and third grade students improved their reading skills on average by three school months. Studies show these same students were likely to regress academically by an average of 2.5 months without Y Readers, putting them well behind their peers at the beginning of the school year.
In 1999, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte initiated a partnership with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) to form the Y Readers program with the purpose to engage children reading below grade level in a six-week summer enrichment course to prevent learning loss. Certified teachers build reading skills, self-confidence and foster a love of learning. Locally, the program includes sites in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Lincoln County and Mooresville Graded Schools. In 2012, the YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), the Y’s national office, selected Charlotte’s Y Readers as a Signature Program for the YMCA’s efforts to close the achievement gap during the summer. For the second consecutive year, the Y Readers model was implemented across the nation. This summer it was adopted in 29 cities.
Y Readers is provided at no cost to participants’ families. Compared to the $8,500 cost for a child to repeat one year of school, Y Readers is provided at only $1,300 per child and is funded by generous donations from individuals and businesses.
“Y Readers is a quality, cost-effective program with quantifiable results. It’s a powerful example of the positive benefits that result when the community galvanizes to address a common need – everyone wins,” comments Amanda Wilkinson, Senior Program Director of School Age Initiatives.
Interest and support for the program continues to gain momentum. Over the course of the summer, nearly 240 community members volunteered more than 1,400 hours to serve the Y Readers program. The time volunteers spent with the program is valued at $31,173 ($22.14 per hour is the national average).
Each Y Readers site hosted a parent workshop to reinforce the importance of reading and provide strategies for teaching reading at home. Through a partnership with Promising Pages and First Book-Charlotte, each student received at least six books for their home libraries. Collectively, Y Readers students received more than 3,000 books, further poising students for academic success. Health education and activities are included as an integral part of the Y Readers program, including free weekly swim lessons and health sessions emphasizing the importance of hand washing, sleep, safety, nutrition and exercise.
In 2012, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte added the proven Y Readers learning model to its traditional after-school program at four YMCA branches including the McCrorey, Stratford Richardson, Simmons and Johnston YMCAs.
For more information about the history, funding and results of Y Readers, review the Y Readers Summer 2013 Impact Report or contact Blair Campbell at email@example.com.
About the YMCA of Greater Charlotte
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The YMCA of Greater Charlotte, comprised of 19 Y branches and two resident camps, engages approximately 292,000 men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Deeply rooted in the community for 138 years, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. ymcacharlotte.org.