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May 30, 2020


Research spanning 100 years has proven that students experience up to 2.5 months of academic learning loss when they are out of school for the summer and do not engage in educational activities. This loss can set them back in their learning progress and cause them to lose ground academically. 

For several summers, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) has successfully addressed summer learning loss by implementing the Suncoast Summer Reading Challenge in partnership with summer providers and summer camps in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. During the summer of 2019, more than 6,800 children read at least six books at their level as part of the Suncoast Summer Reading Challenge. Outcome measurements showed 80% of these children scored better on their reading diagnostic tests in the fall than their peers who did not participate in the Reading Challenge, with 44% of them experiencing no learning loss. 

While SCGLR will continue to support summer camp and summer programs, the summer of 2020 is presenting new challenges for children due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With school closures caused by the pandemic, the time our students have been out of school is expected to stretch to five months or more. While there is great uncertainty on how much learning has been impacted by school closures and distance learning, it is likely the families and children who have struggled in the past will need even more supports moving forward due to the disruptions to learning and daily routines caused by the virus. We know high-quality enrichment programs can help to mitigate summer learning loss. However, access to high-quality enrichment programs is limited as summer camps and summer programs are canceled or running at reduced capacity. Also, many families have found themselves with reduced financial resources, making them unable to afford the few programs available. 

As a result of these factors, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, through the generosity of The Patterson Foundation, is taking summer learning directly to parents, children, and families through THIS BOOK IS COOL!

THIS BOOK IS COOL! is a web series designed to help foster a love of reading and love of learning for children from PreK through third grade. Each webisode features a carefully selected book, a special guest sharing their thoughts on what makes this book cool, recommended vocabulary words, and an activity that corresponds with the book.  

Each week, for ten weeks, there will be two webisodes posted for each grade level: PreK, K, Gr. 1, Gr. 2, and Gr. 3. Through the generosity of The Patterson Foundation, physical copies of the featured books will be shared with qualifying families* from Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties.

*To qualify for free books, registrants must

  1. be a resident of Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, or Sarasota counties
  2. be entering grades PreK – 3
  3. be enrolled in a Title I school, qualify for free/reduced lunch, or financially impacted by the COVID-19 shut down                                                
  4. not be enrolled in a summer camp or summer program already participating in THIS BOOK IS COOL!

THIS BOOK IS COOL! webisodes, activity guides, and featured books will provide numerous opportunities weekly for children, parents, and families to engage in reading and learning

During these uncertain times, reading and enjoying books and book-related activities will help build strong family bonds and create joyful memories that children can carry with them for the rest of their lives. Now that… COOL!

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