Back to School Jumpstart Camp
Free Library of Philadelphia, Penn.
Both to hold off the summer slide and give students a late-summer boost back into the classroom, we piloted and evaluated a literacy-intensive Camp at three libraries. Thirty eight rising first-third graders worked on a project-based curriculum and engaged in deep reading and writing practice, with each child authoring their own book.
The program addressed the issues of evaluating and measuring the impact of summer learning in the Library; assisting children in holding off the summer slide and preparing them to enter the classroom ready to learn; and guiding program development and iteration for wider implementation across the Free Library's 60+ locations.
The project-based curriculum was developed based on research-tested methods that indicate reading gains. Our attendance goals were modeled from School District research around grade level reading and instructional days. The Free Library’s Summer Reading Program has only ever been measured by levels of participation, and more recently, outcomes surveys that show it has a positive impact on children in the summer. In Jumpstart, we structured a deeper look into children’s readiness to reenter the classroom, and to that end implemented pre and post-assessments of reading level, classroom behavioral indicators, and the students’ own attitudes toward their learning.
The results are promising in that we met our primary goal of holding off the summer slide. On average, these students gained one reading level during the program and levels stayed the same or increased for nearly 90 percent of participants.