As a part of an ongoing initiative to promote literacy in Northwest Kansas, the Dane G. Hansen Foundation Trustees are pleased to announce a new grant opportunity to promote effective summer reading programs.

When developing the reading initiative, NW Kansas READS, the Hansen Foundation has emphasized the importance of reading to young children through partnerships with existing programs with proven track records to promote literacy, including Turn a Page Touch a Mind through the Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. These programs are aimed at children age 0-5, in an effort to get children to kindergarten ready to learn at a higher level.

The summer reading grant is designed to help children already in school keep pace with their peers.

Research shows that once children enter school, they tend to learn at a fairly similar pace. Teachers do a good job of working with students to help them be successful in the classroom.

However, research also documents that children with fewer books in the home, and from lower socio-economic homes, lose precious ground between school years.  This “summer slide” is largely responsible for the gap in reading and math scores that evolves in the elementary years and remains throughout a student’s educational career.

The new summer reading grant is designed to specifically address summer slide.  The application addresses elements that research shows must be present for a summer reading program to successfully move the learning needle.

Successful grant applications will address three important elements:

Access – How will the children get to the books, or how will the books get to the children. Offering a program and hoping children will come is not enough to reach the children who need it most.

Choice – We know that allowing children to self-select from a choice of age-appropriate titles is a critical element in getting them to read.

Discussion – The opportunity to talk about the text with peers and/or adults reinforces the text and takes the learning to a higher level.

Summer Reading Grants must be received by APRIL 25 to be considered for that summer.