South Avondale School

Summer Stars – Reading Backpack Program keeps students and volunteer tutors connected over summer break

Volunteer tutor working with a third grader at South Avondale School.This summer, CPS partnered with several organizations to offer the Reading Backpack Program, an initiative designed to help students in grades first through third improve on their reading skills during the summer months.

Participating students met with a CPS volunteer tutor or community volunteer once a week over a four-week period to read and respond to three grade-level books that were provided in their reading backpacks. Some groups even expanded the program to six weeks, enabling them to work with more students. Upon completion, students got to keep their reading backpacks — and the books — so they could read with their family members at home.

“It is great to have a resource that provides all the materials necessary to conduct a fun, educational activity that gets our club members reading,” said Veronica Pitts, a Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati mentor at the U.S. Bank Boys & Girls Club, who worked with a small group of third graders from the Avondale community.

Ms. Pitts working with third graders

Volunteer tutor working with a second grader at South Avondale School.Summer reading programs help prevent “summer slide,” or the loss of reading skills that can occur during the summer months when kids are not in school. The selected books were part of the suggested list for the Free-Time Reading program that was developed by the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, in partnership with Cincinnati Public Schools. The books were purchased with a Wallace Foundation grant.

The district’s partners in the Reading Backpack Program were:

  • Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, which sponsored 15 students at South Avondale School and Rockdale Academy.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati, which sponsored 45 of their CPS Club members at the U.S. Bank Boys & Girls Club in the Avondale community.
  • FamiliesFORWARD, which sponsored 30 students at the Bond Hill Academy.
  • Whole Again, which sponsored 30 students through a six-week summer program at Ethel Taylor Academy, Winton Hills Academy and Mt. Airy School.