Lester RR Students with CU Summer Books 2017[2]

Students from Theodore Lester Elementary School in Florence show their appreciation for the summer reading material donated to them by Clemson, Scholastic and Dabo’s All in Team Foundation.
Image Credit: Theodore Lester Elementary School

In late May, nearly 1,200 students in districts across South Carolina received orange drawstring backpacks containing books such as “Clifford’s Spring Clean Up,” “The Little Red Hen” and other reading material that will help prevent the decline in reading skills many students experience during summer months. The backpacks contained 10 books each and were made possible by Dabo and Kathleen Swinney’s All in Team Foundation®.

The delivery of these bags marks the second year of the Clemson University Reading Recovery® and Early Literacy Training Center’s Tigers Read! initiative. According to C.C. Bates, associate professor in Clemson’s College of Education and director of the center, fighting the summer reading setback does more than just improve reading skills.

“Learning to read is the foundation of all academic success and is also instrumental to children’s success in life,” Bates said. “This is why it’s so important to takes steps forward in development over the summer. Unfortunately, many children go in the opposite direction.”

In total, students across 25 school districts ranging from the Upstate to Lowcountry received backpacks filled with summer book packs customized by Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company. Organizers purchased separate book lists tailored for boys and girls through Scholastic’s Family and Community Engagement Division.

Results during the school year are consistently good for the low-achieving students involved in Reading Recovery; during the 2015-2016 year, 79 percent of students who completed the intervention were successful. Most of these students come from impoverished homes, making them more prone to the summer reading setback because of a lack of access to books.

Reading Recovery Tigers Read!

The Tigers Read! initiative supplied drawstring bags filled with 10 books to nearly 1,200 students across South Carolina.
Image Credit: C.C. Bates

Bates said outcomes of the initiative will be measured by collecting data on text reading level and scores on the revised Slosson Oral Reading Test, which assesses students’ word recognition level and decoding skills. Data from the Tigers Read! project will be collected at the end of the 2017 school year.

“This project aligns perfectly with the All in Team mission as well as that of Reading Recovery,” Bates said. “It not only raises awareness of a critical issue in education, but also seeks to address it in a tangible way.”

The Clemson University Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Training Center for South Carolina serves the state by providing training and ongoing professional development for Reading Recovery and primary grade classroom teachers in the area of early literacy assessment and instructional strategies and the teaching of struggling readers and writers.

Dabo’s All in Team Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Its mission is to raise awareness of critical education and health issues in order to change lives of people across the state of South Carolina.