Mayor Nutter Announces DHS Donation Of Almost 205,000 Books To School District K-3 Students

Encourages students to read this summer.

Philadelphia, June 13, 2014 –  Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced the donation of almost 205,000 books to more than 51,200 students, grades K-3, in the Philadelphia School District from the City’s Department of Human Services (DHS).  All of the books, which were purchased with DHS funds, will be distributed before the end of the school year, four books per student, to support the Grade Level Reading by Third Grade campaign, a collaborative effort led by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to double the number of children reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade by 2020.

“Too often, when summer arrives, children stop the learning process.  One of the main obstacles to maintaining grade level reading is summer reading loss, commonly called the ‘summer slide’,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter.  “The summer slide particularly affects low-income students who don’t always have access to educational programs or books during the summer months.  I am proud that the City is partnering with the Casey Foundation to address this deficit in reading material for our youngest students.  I want to encourage all Philadelphia families to use this summer wisely and read to the children in their lives.”

Mayor Nutter was joined by Superintendent Dr. William Hite to distribute books to third graders at George W. Nebinger Elementary school in South Philadelphia.

“Research shows that reading on grade level by the third grade helps build a foundation for future success,” said Dr. Hite.  “This literacy campaign provides a major boost to our goal of having all 8-year-olds reading on grade level. This gift of books promotes the love of reading and ignites the passion for learning. There is no better time than the summer to read aloud with a child.”

Dr. Lori Shorr, Chief Education Officer for the City said, “While we have had some real success in increasing the city’s high school graduation rate from 53% to 64% over the last six years, there is still more work to do to reach our goal of 64%.  Today’s announcement emphasizes the importance of summer reading in making sure all of our students are reading on grade level.”

In December 2013, Mayor Nutter established the Grade Level Reading by Third Grade steering committee to partner with the Annie E. Casey Foundation on the grade level reading initiative.  DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose, one of many City leaders on the committee, said, “When I learned that more than half of Philadelphia’s public school 3rdgraders, more than 7,000 students, could not read on grade level by the end of the school year in 2012, I knew DHS needed to get involved to do something.  DHS seeks to serve all Philadelphia children, not just those in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems, and we are doing that through this city-wide book donation.”

The committee will release its full strategy to enhance summer reading and learning opportunities city wide later this year.

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release
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