Skip to main content
July 25, 2017

“Dive into Reading” with the Anna Maria Oyster Bar

Editor’s Note: John Horne, CEO of Bradenton’s Anna Maria Oyster Bar, created “Dive into Reading — with help from the community — to help local children successfully avoid the Summer Slide.

1,862 BOOKS! In total since the program began on June 5. How amazing is that?!?!?!

Many folks came together to make this program happen … thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!!!

Studies show that a majority of children who are reading at one or more grade levels below grade level by the time they finish third will NEVER graduate high school. Many will most likely end up in Juvenile Detention Centers. There is also a concept called the Summer Slide, where children “stop” learning during the summer and have a hard time catching back up.

After talking with many concerned people in our community, the Anna Maria Oyster Bar team decided to create “Dive into Reading,” a Summer Reading Program. We brought a group of our great local guests and rising 3rd graders from local schools together, fed everyone breakfast, then read to the children and had them read to us. We collaborated with the School District of Manatee County and the Manatee County Library System to bring kids to our Ellenton location three days a week for the entire month of June. They arrived in time for a hot breakfast, an experience in greeting strangers and shaking hands, learned table manners, and the skills to learn to read every day.

Through the generosity of an anonymous family, each child was given a book to take home after every visit to read before their next breakfast meeting. We had a group of about 35 children visit every Monday for four weeks, a different group of kids every Wednesday, and another every Thursday for 4 weeks. It was an awesome program!

One of the things we liked most is that all of the kids in Dive into Reading were tested at the beginning of the program and will be tested at its end. Who knows, if we get the results we’re hoping for. We may be able to replicate this to more stores next year.  We’ve already spoken to many restaurateurs that are interested in our program and our results.

Check out the Dive into Reading photo gallery!

A HUGE thank you to all of the 58 wonderful reading mentors who changed the lives of local kids with us this summer at our Ellenton location!

We have so many people and organizations to thank for advising and helping us with this program: The Patterson FoundationSchool District of Manatee CountyManatee County Public LibraryEarly Learning Coalition of Manatee CountyManatee Community FoundationSunrise KiwanisUS FoodsMixon FarmsHernando De Soto Historical SocietyAffinity Group ParamountGeneral MillsCORE GroupWaypoint and more… it takes a village and we live in a wonderful community!

Share this post