For March, we are challenging our communities in Rancho Cucamonga to read.
Children who have not developed basic literacy skills are four times more likely to drop out of school in later years. Hope through Housing has started implementing reading programs that support residents on their journey to college and career readiness.
Every activity in the after-school program is designed to increase a child’s health and wellness, their decision-making skills and academic readiness. Approximately 73% of Hope through Housing’s children and teens are doing better in school while 81% of students say they plan to graduate from high school and pursue college or career training.
“The kids are competitive and really excited! The challenge has created a healthy pressure for literacy improvement,” said Director of Program Quality and Data Management, Dixie Torres about the competition between some of the National CORE properties.
This month-long challenge not only focuses on reading but also helps build upon a child’s cognitive thinking skills with thought-provoking activities to reflect on the reading materials. This comes at a crucial time when the “learning loss,” — the impact the pandemic had on student learning–has begun to rear its ugly head. According to many studies, students learn less in remote schooling thus creating a gap between their individual academic standing and the objectives set forth by the district.
This rift in education can be tackled by reading – Hope through Housing is installing little libraries throughout the low desert communities to give more tools to disadvantaged students. “We noticed that some of the kids in our programs have fallen behind and because we are a village, a community —we are working together to support them,” Dixie said.
Since the challenge began, children have been absorbed in books about a variety of diverse cultures and historical figures such as Mexican recording artist, Juan Garcia Esquivel and Kenyan environmental activist, Wangari Maathi. The reading materials were generously donated by First 5 San Bernardino, an agency focused on promoting, supporting and enhancing the health and early development of children.
First 5 launched the “Gift a Kid a Book” campaign to encourage gifting children books as a way to get them reading all year long, and as a result, our kids got the opportunity to relish those presents.
“’Gift a Kid a Book’ is a wonderful opportunity to reinforce the joy and value of reading with our youth,” said First 5 San Bernardino Executive Director Karen Scott. “To help our children find success in this world, I can’t think of a more important gift than reading to pass down to the next generation.”