Springfield Reads to Build a Better World, a citywide summer reading project developed last year to help spread the message of the importance of children reading for 20 minutes every day, has announced that Springfield children have read more than 778,250 minutes this summer, having participated in 38,912 twenty-minute reading sessions in summer programs across the City. This is a significant increase from the first year of the program in 2017, when children read a total of 541,520 minutes.
Thirteen summer programs and thirty-one Springfield Public Schools locations participated in Springfield Reads to Build a Better World. The program was developed as a collaboration of summer learning providers from community-based programs, the Springfield Public Schools Early Start program for rising third graders and the Springfield City Library.
Throughout the summer, participating summer learning programs ensured that every child in their program read for 20 minutes every day, and recorded the number of children reading. The Reading Success by 4th Grade initiative and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission kept track of the number of minutes read across the City.
Springfield Reads to Build a Better World was designed to connect to the Springfield City Library’s summer reading program, so children were also able to track their summer reading and were entered to win prizes from the Library. The Library supplied mini-libraries to summer programs, as well as offering library visits and staff for story hours.
Efforts such as these led to Springfield being named an All-America City in 2017 for its civic engagement to help more young children from low-income families achieve grade-level reading proficiency and early school success. Springfield was one of just 15 communities nationwide to receive the award from the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the National Civic League.
Research shows that children who read for 20 minutes every day are exposed to 1.8 million words per year and score 90% better than their peers on reading tests.