As part of the early grade reading focus area, our summer literacy initiatives help ensure that more children are exposed to reading and enrichment opportunities over the summer months, fostering their success in school and in life. Without access to the enriching activities available to more affluent peers, research shows that children from low-income families can experience the summer slide, losing as much as three months of reading comprehension skills.
Each of the summer literacy programs feature daily literacy activities, experiential learning, reading, parent engagement, physical activity, nutrition and access to books. UWMOC worked with the following partners to launch the program regionally:
AMP Zone, Boys and Girls Clubs of Monmouth County, Collier Youth Services, Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore, Horizons at Rumson Country Day School, Monmouth Day Care Center, O.C.E.A.N. Inc., Ocean County YMCA, Red Bank Primary School and YMCA of Western Monmouth County.
As a result of the summer literacy regional launch, the Ocean County YMCA became one of our new partners in this area of our work. Thanks to United Way and funds raised by our Women United group, the YMCA was able to open a brand new Learning Adventure Center for its campers. Children created new STEM activities, explored arts and crafts, learned new games using technology, journaled, and explored their thoughts and feelings on different literature. Campers could also take books home and return them through the lending library, allowing them to share their favorite books with family and friends. Through UWMOC’s grant, scholarships were offered to children who would not have been able to attend the Ocean County YMCA summer camp due to the cost.
“To be able to offer this program to children who wouldn’t otherwise have this type of learning resource during the summer was hugely inspirational to staff, parents and children alike,” stated Jennifer Friedhoff of the Ocean County YMCA. “The teachers and staff involved with this program considered it to be a smashing success.”