The YMCA of Coastal Georgia hosted the second annual Association wide Celebrate Reading Day on July 17, 2019. What originally began as a onetime event at the Golden Isles YMCA in 2017, has become a day-long annual event at all ten of our YMCA of Coastal Georgia locations. The Celebrate Reading Day program welcomed local community leaders and YMCA members to each YMCA of Coastal Georgia location to read a favorite childhood book aloud to summer day campers and Child Learning Center students. Through this program, the Y emphasized the role our programs play during the summer months to help reduce the impact of “summer slide” in education. Throughout the day, 49 volunteers logged 20 hours of reading to 296 children across our ten Y branches.
According to a study from the RAND Corporation, the average summer learning loss for low-income students is an average of two months of reading skills, while their higher-income peers make slight gains. Unfortunately, summer learning loss is cumulative, with low-income students falling further behind after summer without involvement in educational programming. The Y is committed to providing quality, affordable programs for our children during these crucial summer months. Each day, our summer day campers participate in the Y Camp Readers program, logging a minimum of twenty minutes of reading. Children enrolled in the Y’s Quality Rated Child Learning Center are engaged in a variety of reading and language development activities as part of their daily curriculum.
Readers participated throughout the day at each location and shared stories with children aged 1 -12 years old across the Y. Some of the featured local readers included Virginia Brown, United Way of Coastal Georgia, Former Mayor Bryan Thompson and Georgia Sea Grill Chef Connor.
“Quality programming is essential for the on-going success of our children,” said Joel Smoker, President & CEO of the YMCA of Coastal Georgia. “Celebrate Reading Day is just one of the many ways that Y is working to close the achievement gap and engage our local students during the crucial summer months.”