The Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative (HSLI) is a region-wide initiative to expand quality summer-learning opportunities for children throughout Hampden County and western Massachusetts. Since 2006, HSLI has worked with community-based organizations and schools to strengthen the unique and significant role out-of-school and summer-time programs play in supporting children's social and academic development. The overall goal of HSLI is to increase children's access to safe and supportive out-of- school learning opportunities that: promote free expression, play, and exploration; foster positive social interactions; build self confidence and self esteem; and support school success through developing literacy and learning skills and positive attitudes towards learning in our youth.
HSLI’s award-winning systems-change model provides additional resources and professional supports needed to ensure children of low-income families in western Massachusetts access high-quality out-of school time learning opportunities. HSLI provides programs with specialized thematic curriculum, staff training, and program enhancement grants. In addition, ‘on-site’ teacher-coaches and literacy interventionists support effective implementation of curriculum and literacy activities. Coaches and program staff partner to develop and implement strategies to improve program quality. Participating programs are dedicated to continuous program improvement, and to building the organizational capacity required to provide low-income youth with fun and engaging literacy and learning experiences that advance and maintain children’s literacy skills during the summer.
2012 literacy assessments of participants supported by HSLI indicate that HSLI meets and exceeds its goal of stemming summer learning loss. On average, 68% of children gained or stayed the same in their acquisition of early literacy skills as measured by DIBELS/OWT literacy assessments. HSLI continues to refine and deepen its focus on literacy interventions. The increase in professional development and resources provided to HSLI programs to effectively implement research-based literacy strategies is informed by a compelling body of evidence that supports HSLI’s case that summer reading is an essential ingredient to reading proficiency.