More than 500 children and dozens of adult volunteers are delving into reading this week as the Y Readers program opens in Mecklenburg, Lincoln and Iredell counties.
The program, run by the YMCA of Greater Charlotte, provides free six-week summer reading camps to rising first- to third-graders at risk of falling behind in reading. It’s separate from the state-mandated Read to Achieve summer programs for third-graders who failed state reading exams.
Community volunteers at 10 Y Reader sites help with reading and writing exercises, which are interspersed with field trips and summer camp activities.
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The goal is to prevent children from slipping further behind during summer break. YMCA officials say that for the last eight summers, the vast majority of participants have maintained or advanced on reading skills.
“Studies show that if a child from a low-income family can’t read by third grade, they are 13 times more likely to drop out,” YMCA official Amanda Wilkinson said in a press statement. “Most of our Y Readers participants come from economically disadvantaged families and need extra support with literacy.”