The START team targeted a serious but not fully appreciated problem affecting young readers: summer reading loss. Studies have shown that children lose between 9 and 12 weeks of reading skills during the summer break. For below-average readers, the cumulative loss has a critically adverse impact on a child’s reading development.

The START team created a plan for community groups, such as civic clubs, to team with schools to provide books and other materials to encourage summer reading activities. Additionally, the team produced an article and distributed it to South Carolina newspapers to raise parent awareness and suggest ways to combat summer reading loss. The START team also pitched the program to Rotary Clubs in Columbia and Rock Hill and school districts in those areas, where the plan was received favorably and discussions are underway on ways a summer reading program may be implemented in 2012.