Did you know that 61% of Shelby County third graders are not reading on grade level? And that was before COVID-19. Thanks to the pandemic, Memphis kids have missed an entire quarter of their school year and many of their summer learning camps have already been canceled.
Now we’ve got some more tough news.
Children in low-income communities are less likely to have access to books in and around their homes. And again, that becomes especially true during a pandemic when no one is going to school or local libraries. Memphis, we’ve got a problem.
We need to get books into the hands of these children immediately.
In response to this, Choose901’s partner organization Give901 is working to gather books and learning materials for children, and asking you to get involved. To determine the best way to help, Anne Pitts, Director of Give901, talked with educational organizations. What she heard repeatedly is that, while COVID-19 school closures are hurting learning for all students, it has probably been hardest on the little ones: “School leaders told me that kids from PreK-3rd grade don’t benefit as much from online learning opportunities. They need books in their hands and teachers sitting next to them who know their strengths and weaknesses and guide them through their challenges and victories.”
Working with Porter-Leath’s Books from Birth and ARISE2Read, Give901 created a plan to distribute Summer Learning Kits to 1300 low-income families from nine different schools and programs in Memphis. These include the five Compass Schools elementary schools, New Hope Christian Academy in Frayser, the Cornerstone elementary schools in Frayser and Binghampton, and the literacy program at STREETS Ministries in Graham Heights. These Kits will get reading tools into the hands of the kids who need them most and move the youngest Memphians closer to reaching that all important goal: learning to read.
Every gift helps.
Memphians are already coming together to build the Summer Learning Kits, but it won’t be free. Every dollar given at www.give901.org will go directly to purchase books and learning activities for the Kits. At Choose901 we believe that if we invest in our city, it’ll grow as a rich and diverse haven for arts, culture, and enterprise. And that starts with the kids.