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Literacy Council partners keep minds fed over summer

By Rebecca Rider
rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — After a successful pilot program last year, the Rowan County Literacy Council is expanding its partnership with the Salisbury Housing Authority.

Last year, the literacy council placed tutors at two summer meals sites with the Salisbury Housing authority. Teaching a few days a week, tutors helped students to keep reading and learning over the long summer break.

“Last year was the first time we had done that, so it was an experiment, and I think it was a really successful experiment,” said Laurel Harry, program coordinator with the literacy council.

Without access to books or learning, students can enter “summer slide,” which can make picking learning up in August difficult.

“Kids that don’t read over the summer will enter the school year with a deficit,” Harry said.

Over time, that deficit can become cumulative, resulting in a near permanent gap between affluent children and those without access to learning materials.

For students who live in Salisbury Housing Authority communities, it can be a real risk.

“They have a real reading drought during the summer,” Harry said. “…We want to come in and fill that void.”

While Harry and others at the literacy council weren’t sure how the program would take off, last year student attendance numbers grew steadily throughout the summer.

“We took that as the kids were enjoying it and found it worthwhile, so we were very encouraged by that,” Harry said.

This summer, the literacy council will have tutors present at all four housing authority summer meals sites: East Lafayette Street Apartments, Brookview Apartments, Pine Hills Apartments and Linn Lane.

After students eat lunch, tutors will run short, fun lessons and crafts covering science and reading.

“Our main objective in this program is to prevent summer reading loss and to keep kids engaged and active over the summer,” Harry said.

Each site will have one primary tutor and one or more assistant tutors, depending on student attendance.

Tutoring programs will run every Tuesday and Thursday beginning June 19 and ending Aug. 16. There will be no session held July 5, due to the Fourth of July holiday.

Daily start times for each location will be:

  • East Lafayette: 12 noon. 
  • Brookview Apartments: 1 p.m.
  • Pine Hills Apartments: 12:30 p.m.
  • Linn Lane: 12 noon. 

Programs and summer meal sites are open to any child between the ages of 3 and 18.

A Post reporter reached out the the Salisbury Housing Authority, but was informed that management was out of the office until Monday.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 

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