Summer Gap / Slide
Promoting literacy is of primary importance, but especially to at-risk children, who often become caught in the "summer gap/slide". Because of their lack of books in the home, their reading level decreases and they enter the new year already behind their more affluent peers. We strive to provide as many of these at-risk children as we can with both books and bikes. Many of these children have never had a book of their own, or had a bike of their own to ride. We all recognize the benefits that children get from reading, no matter what the age. This is especially true during the summer months, when children are out of school on summer break. By giving them their own books to read for this time-frame, we can offer them a positive way to bridge the retention gap between the end of one school year, and the beginning of another (known as "Summer Gap" or "Summer Slide"). This allows them to feel excited and proud that they have maintained their level of reading over the summer, consequently starting the new year off on a positive note. We hope, by providing books to these children, this "Summer Reading Gap/Slide" will be decreased.
Promoting a healthy lifestyle at an early age is so important. For these children in particular, being able to ride their own bike is not only a positive form of exercise for their bodies, it also has a positive effect on their minds. In addition to being excited about their ownership of this bike, they are totally motivated to ride... whether for pleasure, transportation to school or work, or simply for fun! They are pumped up! Their bike becomes part of their body, and they become its engine. As books power the mind, so do bikes power the body. The correlation between physical exercise, and the effect on their brains and minds is a positive one, and the combination of having books and bikes at their fingertips increases their chance for success. Exercising is a win for them... their bodies are pumped up, and their brains are ready to learn!
At-risk children from low-income families
Over the Summer, at-risk children from low-income families usually do not have books to read at home. The areas they live in often do not have libraries within walking distance, and, if they do, it is common that the hours will be restricted and limited books are available. It's not that they do not want to read; it's that they do not have books.
The basic problem seems to be…access to books. Children from low-income families own fewer books than middle-class children and, according to Neuman and Celano’s research: "middle-class kids have 10 places to buy books in neighborhoods for every one place located in a low-income neighborhood. Their work has shown that school libraries differ, classroom libraries differ, and book-lending policies differ in schools attended by low- and middle-income children. In every case, it’s schools attended by low-income children that come up short in terms of creating easy access to books for children."
If a child has the desire to read, then we should give them access to books. We have only just begun to chip away, but we now understand the ever increasing need. We have a positive outlook, and we intend to do our part. The number of books and bikes we are able to deliver is only limited by the amount of donations we receive. On the Move, Inc. is determined to make a difference. Our goal is not to give out tons of books... just for the sake of giving out books... but give out books through avenues that allow us to track the results. Our experience these last two years has taught us that we can be far more effective working with reading specialists to get the books that they know will be the best for the children because of their various reading levels.
We continue to deliver as many requested books/bikes as we possibly can for these children... even if it is only one book, one bike, one child at a time.
61% ............. Sixty-One Percent of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for their children.
30,000,000 ... Thirty Million fewer words are heard by poor children than their affluent peers.
2 Years Old .... By Age Two, poor children are already behind their peers in listening, counting, and other skills
essential to literacy.
.... Reading Literacy in the Unites States, 1996
.... National Governors Assoc: Governor's Guide to Early Literacy , 2013
The most successful way to improve the reading achievement of low-income children is to increase their access to print.
....Neuman, et al, 2000
Having books in the home is twice as important as the father's education level.
....Res0arch in Social Stratification and Mobility, 2010
In middle-income neighborhoods, the ratio of books per child is 13 to 1... in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children.
.... Neuman, et al, 2006