Local Summer Reading Program Eyeing National Expansion

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Over 87% of Miami and Montgomery County third graders are ready for fourth grade according to preliminary reading scores on the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA), just under the statewide average of 88.5%. More than 670 third graders, however, face another year in the third grade without intervention.

Local districts are battling the summer reading slide, one of three factors in determining a child’s ability to read on grade level, with help from local nonprofit organization Kids Read Now. At just $57 per student, Kids Read Now is a cost-effective solution to keep kids reading over the summer months. Participating students receive nine books of their choosing all summer long, and student progress is tracked using One Call Now technology. In the midst of its fourth year, the program is serving 4,000 students from 22 school buildings.

Local educators say the program is making a difference. Principal Garry Martin of Demmitt Elementary in Vandalia-Butler City Schools reported a first try passage rate of 72% by Kids Read Now students in third grade on the OAA. After removing the 9% of those students on IEP’s (who do not have to pass the OAA) and removing the enrolled students who did not report reading a book, 96% of the remaining Kids Read Now participants in third grade passed the OAA on the first try. Demmitt third graders not participating in Kids Read Now reported a first try passage rate of only 60% in comparison.

Brandy Branson, whose son Conner is participating in Kids Read Now through Favorite Hill Primary in Piqua, says her son is enjoying reading for the first time. “Thanks for offering this program to our kids! My son doesn’t like to read a lot, but this program has him so excited to complete his books. He can’t wait to put his code in each week, and he looks forward to getting the next book!”

Based in Troy, the program is eyeing national expansion opportunities. This summer marks the organization’s first full-scale expansion into Indiana, where Richmond Community Schools’ students are participating in the program. Additional districts served include Jefferson Township Local Schools, Piqua City Schools, Trotwood-Madison City Schools, Troy City Schools, and Vandalia-Butler City Schools. For more information about Kids Read Now, visit www.kidreadnow.org or like the organization’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kidsreadnow.

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Mike McDermott is publisher of several web news properties, including this one. Long time resident, and local business owner, Mike McDermott lives in the downtown and fiercely defends Tipp City's honor at home and abroad.

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