Springfield—Springfield Reads to Build a Better World, a citywide summer reading project developed to help spread the message of the importance of children reading for 20 minutes every day, has announced that Springfield children read over half a million minutes this summer (541,520 minutes) in 12 summer learning programs throughout the city, including Springfield Public Schools Early Start programs.
Springfield Reads to Build a Better World 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. The programs collaborate in a Reading Success by 4th Grade workgroup developing strategies to stem summer learning loss.
Books that were read by children in the Springfield Public Schools Early Start program were supplied by the Sisters of Providence through a bequest to Brightside for Families and Children from a donor who wished to provide greater access to books for children.
Brightside for Families and Children, part of Mercy Medical Center, and Reading Success by 4th Grade donated books for 75 Springfield Public Schools Early Start classrooms to have mini-libraries of 30 books each for children to use for their 20 minutes of daily reading.
Summer learning programs that participated in Springfield Reads to Build a Better World ensured that every child in their program read for 20 minutes every day, and recorded the number of children who read. The Reading Success by 4th Grade initiative 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 and provided 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.
Read! Reading Success by 4th Grade is a broad coalition of leaders in education, child development, business, philanthropy and government working towards the goal of all of Springfield’s children reading proficiently by the end of third grade.