We are thrilled to announce that our Dive Into Reading program is returning this June with more locations and more kids! The Anna Maria Oyster Bar created this program in partnership with the School District of Manatee County and the Suncoast Campaign for Grade Level Reading with help from many community partners.
In Manatee County alone, 49% of our 3rd Grade students are not able to read to their grade level and their opportunities to catch up are limited. From birth to 3rd grade children learn to read; from 3rd grade on, they read to learn – we have to give our children the opportunity to learn.
Last year, we rolled out the pilot program of Dive Into Reading at our Ellenton location with the goal of expanding the program each year. Dive into Reading is a summer reading program for incoming 2nd and 3rd grade students attending summer school at Camp R.I.S.E. at Manatee County Title 1 schools to help combat what is known as the “summer slide”. Nationally, low income students lose an average of between two and a half to three months of reading skills during the summer. We aim to combat this “summer slide” by inviting these students to the restaurant weekly during summer school to encourage a love of reading. The students receive a hot breakfast and sit with their volunteer mentor, we teach them life skills – how to introduce yourself, how to place your napkin on a lap – many skills that these children have never had the opportunity to learn. After breakfast, the kids have one on one reading time with their mentors and receive books to take home and enjoy.
We were so excited to learn that the students who completed the program last summer showed an increase of 1.25 months in reading proficiency, (compared to the national average loss of 2 1/2 – 3 month) when they returned to school in the fall. You can read about the first year from the blog archives.
With such great results from the children AND an outpouring of community support, we are happy to be expanding the program this year. For the Summer of 2018 we’ll be able to host all FIVE Title 1 Camp R.I.S.E. locations at the Anna Maria Oyster Bars at Cortez, Ellenton and Landside and with the help of our wonderful community we are also partnering with the South Florida Museum and Gecko’s – huge thanks to them for agreeing to be host sites.
By expanding the program to reach a greater number of kids in the community this summer, we need YOUR help! Last year would not have been possible without the generosity and support of the community and those that dedicated their time to be a reading mentor. We had 55 mentors from our own guests, staff and friends, this year we are going to need 5 times that many so please pass the word along!
If you’re interested in making an impact in a child’s future, please consider becoming a volunteer reading mentor this summer! There are plenty of options for days and locations, so you can pick what works best for you. The time commitment for volunteers is one morning shift (8:30-10am) one time per week during June 4th through June 28th… although if you have more time to volunteer, we’ll take it! Several mentors volunteered 2 and 3 days a week last year.
So, what are you waiting for? Click the button below to register!