August 25, 2023

Countdown to the 2023-24 school year! Part 4

August 25, 2023

The next school year is right around the corner and the Read Ahead team is hard at work getting ready for another year of reading, mentoring, and joy.

As we count down to Fall 2023, we’re sharing some interesting articles, highlights from last year, and behind the scenes info. We’ll post new info every couple of weeks. We hope you enjoy!


Using Afterschool and Summer Learning to Improve Literacy Skills

A recent survey revealed that students from low-income and racial minority groups were at a higher rate and likelihood of reading below grade level than their peers. Studies have found that 25% of students from low-income backgrounds also experience missed instructional time and absences from school, which could lead to the low level literacy disparities that are reported. One way that educators have fought to improve literacy and reading level scores are through extended learning time practices. Extended learning time refers to any time outside of regular class instruction time, including lunch sessions, after school, summer enrichment and more.

Research has shown that effective and intentional practices within extended learning programs in afterschool or summer program initiatives have significantly improved students’ reading abilities and confidence in academics. The most impactful programs are ones that collaborate closely with schools and teachers, provide individualized attention to students and their learning strengths and challenges, build students’ social emotional learning as well as academic skills, and more. Read Ahead is a dedicated program that provides reading support to our students during extended school hours either during lunch time or afterschool. Our program focuses on providing students with meaningful relationships with mentors to improve our mentees’ confidence in reading and in life. 

Read more about the impact of extended learning time on improving literacy skills in the Expanded Learning & Afterschool Project article linked above.


We are excited for two program changes for the upcoming school year: First, our Read Ahead staff will have more of a presence in schools during the 2023-24 school year. Program Managers (formerly called Program Coordinators) will be leading virtual program sessions from school, allowing them to build stronger relationships with mentees and teachers. We are also thrilled that most of our Read Ahead sessions will return to taking place during our mentees’ lunch hour (~11am – 2pm). We expect this to maximize student engagement and increase the numbers of students we can serve across all of Read Ahead’s school partners. Pictured below is our Program Manager Jamilia Simon leading sessions with students in the classroom, while mentees connect with their mentors virtually.

Check out other parts of this series on the Read Ahead Blog and learn more about becoming a Read Ahead mentor on our website.