Let’s Eat, Let’s Read program kicking off with summer meal program

United Way and Let’s Read 20 are partnering with the Marion City Schools Summer Meal Program to help prevent learning loss during the summer.

On average, students who don’t engage in summer learning lose the equivalent of two months’ worth of grade-level math and reading skills, according to the National Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University. This means that teachers spend an average of four to eight weeks every fall reviewing material students have forgotten over the summer.

“Let’s Read 20 encourages parents and families to read to or with their children for 20 minutes each day,” said Let’s Read 20 Program Director Mike Ring. “This is especially critical in the summer months when a child can lose a significant amount of the past year’s learning gains with what many educators call the summer slide or brain drain. Providing books and reading directly to and with kids at these summer meal sites is a great way to beat the summer slide and the losses kids traditionally experience over the summer break.”

Starting the third week in June, United Way volunteers will be visiting these three locations to read to the children: Lincoln Park on Tuesday’s at 11:45 a.m., Marion Public Library on Wednesday’s at 12:00 p.m., and the Marion First Church of the Nazarene on Thursday’s at 12:00 p.m. The children are encouraged to pick up their lunch and settle in for a story while they eat. After, the stories are finished, they are gifted a book to take home.

For more information about this project or other volunteer opportunities, contact Natalie Longmeier at United Way of Marion County at: natalie@unitedwaymarion.org or call 740-383-3108.

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