April 20, 2016 - Central Georgia – United Way of Central Georgia is excited to announce the expansion of their KickStart Reading Initiative. This initiative will serve eight Central Georgia counties, with more than 15,000 new books be given to elementary students. As part of KickStart Reading, every student in 20 Central Georgia elementary schools will receive a new book for summer reading. KickStart Reading is focused on reducing summer learning loss by giving age appropriate books to students prior to summer break. KickStart Reading will distribute new books in Baldwin, Bibb, Crawford, Houston, Jones, Macon, Monroe, and Peach counties during the months of April and May. KickStart Reading is part of United Way of Central Georgia’s efforts to raise literacy rates in Central Georgia.
“A century’s worth of research has proven that students lose ground academically when they are out of school for the summe,r” stated George McCanless, President and CEO of the United Way of Central Georgia. “The “summer slide” is even worse for those students that do not have easy access to books. With the help of our corporate sponsors our goal is to make sure as many children as possible have access to quality reading material during their time off.”
According to former Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, “It is estimated that school summer breaks will cause the average student to lose up to one month of instruction, with disadvantaged students being disproportionately affected by a greater lack of literacy resources.” The goal of KickStart Reading is to maintain or boost student literacy levels by retaining reading interest over the summer with fun and entertaining books. Each book was selected by educators, and has a corresponding test that evaluates reading comprehension. Community volunteers and United Way staff will be on-site to distribute books to the students.
Community sponsors of KickStart Reading include: Flint Foundation, Central Georgia EMC, Flint Energies, Robins Financial Credit Union, Davis Printing, McArthur Law Firm, Spherion Staffing, KUMHO Tire, MidSouth Community Federal Credit Union, and Jennifer Franklin.