407-823-3094 LiveUnited@ucf.edu

June 21, 2016 | By Megan Pabian

When school is out for the summer, kids enjoy extra time outdoors, family vacations and unfortunately, they might also experience summer learning loss. Low-income students lose about two months of reading skills over the summer months.  This is one of the biggest contributing factors to education gaps between lower and higher income youth and one of the strongest contributors to the high school dropout rate.

This problem is further compounded when you consider that in low-income neighborhoods, there is only one age-appropriate book for every 300 children. In comparison, middle-income neighborhoods have 13 books for every child.

To inspire a summer of learning and reading, volunteers from UCF joined the United Way to host a Day of Action at UCP Bailes- an elementary school located in Research Park that follows an inclusion model, where kids with disabilities and those without learn and grow together.

Volunteers read Dr. Seuss’ “Bartholomew and the Oobleck” to children and then made green slime with them that mimicked the slime featured in the book.

Rich Sloane, College of Education and Human Performance and campaign chair for UCF’s Live United campaign, was one of the volunteers at the event and says that he hopes the event contributed to the kids’ love for reading and that they were able to absorb the moral of the story- to admit when you are wrong and say sorry.

“I hope that over time, the children will enjoy reading and will want to read more on their own,” said Sloane.

Each child was given five books to take home to encourage further summer reading along with a backpack and summer reading log. The books were donated by UCF employees during UCF’s book drive earlier this summer.

“Summer reading is so important,” Yolanda Hood, an employee of the UCF library and event volunteer said. “Kids lose a lot of the prior year’s learning over the summer. Reading helps them to retain it. And, who doesn’t love owning their very own books!”

To learn more about how you can make an impact through UCF’s Live United campaign, visit www.liveunited.ucf.edu.