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Image of young girl reading a book under a tree to represent The AFYA Foundation for Children's "Stop The Slide" Summer Reading PRogram

"Scholastic feels a deep corporate responsibility to use its assets to support the well-being of children and to enrich and encourage the learning process. As an educator for 25 years, I have long been aware of the impact of parental involvement and the direct link between the time spent reading and academic achievement. I am happy that I can continue to make a positive difference in the lives of children by partnering with committed and compassionate organizations such as The AFYA Foundation for Children!"

— GAYLE MARTIN, Family and

Community Engagement Specialist,

Literacy Initiatives, Scholastic, Inc.

What Is “Summer Slide”?

During the academic year, the reading achievement of students in low-income communities is comparable to the performance of children from more affluent communities. However, during the summer, children from low-income communities unfortunately lose an average of 2 to 3 months of reading (and math) achievement, while students from middle-class communities make slight gains. This phenomenon is known as “the summer slide.” According to research from the Baltimore-based, nonprofit National Summer Learning Association, the cumulative gap grows to an average of 2.5 years by 5th grade and 3.4 years by 9th grade.


How The AFYA Foundation Is Addressing This Problem

The purpose of the Foundation’s “Stop the Slide” Summer Reading Program (“Stop the Slide”) is to prevent reading achievement retrenchment during summer vacation. Targeting schools in low-income communities, “Stop the Slide” provides books to elementary school students grades K-5. Under teacher supervision (to ensure the selection of books at the appropriate reading level), each child selects and receives 12 books to read over the summer.


To ensure they have the resources they need to guide their children’s progress, parents are invited to attend a parent/teacher workshop. The workshop helps parents learn how to facilitate their children's progress and keep students engaged over the summer.


The Foundation’s Valued Partner — Scholastic, Inc.

The Foundation is obtaining program materials from its valued partner, Scholastic, Inc. (Scholastic), the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books.  In addition to books, Scholastic is supplying, at a significant discount, the following program materials, which will be provided by the Foundation to students, free-of-charge:

  • Specially designed “Think Sheets,” designed to reinforce key learning skills
  • “Summer Journals” with writing prompts, to keep students excited about reading all summer long


Starting Where the Needs Are Great — Baltimore, Maryland

In recognition of his deep concern for the plight (and future) of students in his hometown of Baltimore, LeMont Joyner, M.S.P.H., the Foundation’s Chairman of the Board, conducted research to identify a Baltimore City school in great need of the “Stop the Slide” program. The selection of a Baltimore City school as the pilot location was supported not only by Mr. Joyner’s own research, but also by several independent studies.


One major, longitudinal study with particularly dramatic results was conducted by Johns Hopkins University. Beginning in 1982 and continuing for 25 years, researcher Karl Alexander and his colleagues tracked 300 students who attended Baltimore City public schools located within both low- and middle-income communities. The results? They found that by 9th grade, two-thirds of the achievement gap between the students in the two income groups could be attributed to summer learning loss during the students’ elementary school years.

Helping Baltimore City Students to Excel

The “Stop the Slide” staff believes that Baltimore is an excellent target location, and they are working with Baltimore City Public School No. 223, Pimlico Elementary/Middle School (Pimlico) to launch the “Stop the Slide” program. Pimlico is located in Baltimore City’s 21215 ZIP code, where the median family income is below the poverty level—$35,620. Ninety-eight percent of Pimlico’s students qualify for free lunch.


How Can I Help?

You can help make this first, critical delivery of the Foundation’s “Stop the Slide” Summer Reading Program a rousing success. To sponsor a child or volunteer your time, please click here.


“We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading.”







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