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Local Nonprofit Helps Young Readers Go for the Gold

Philadelphia Reading Olympics photo

While athletes from around the world compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics, preparations for a much different Olympics are taking place in Philadelphia. Philadelphia READS, an independent nonprofit serving thousands of urban children, organizes an annual Reading Olympics that encourages kids to strengthen their literacy skills. Instead of the high jump or the 200-meter freestyle, kids read a list of assigned books and compete to answer Jeopardy-style questions that test their reading comprehension and analysis.

Philadelphia Reads LogoThe Reading Olympics is a creative attempt to solve a longstanding and intractable problem: getting kids reading at grade level by the time they enter fourth grade. Read more

Getting Kids to Read Over the Summer Takes a Village

Kids on lawn reading Harry Potter

What adults might not remember about the long, carefree summer days of youth is how much they forgot between June and September. In fact, the typical child experiences a three-month loss in reading achievement known as the “summer slide.”

Philadelphia Foundation LogoOn July 21st, Philadelphia-area children’s advocates, organizers, and nonprofits gathered at the Philadelphia Foundation for a conversation on how to promote childhood literacy by working collaboratively.

The prospect of using summer as an opportunity to hone literacy skills might induce groans from most kids, but solutions to the “summer slide” can actually be entertaining. Read more

Time for a Game Changer: Playgrounds Fight to Stay Relevant to Kids and Parents

Stroll through your local playground on a summer day and take note of what’s missing: swings, seesaws, jungle gyms, and, all too often, children.

Whether kept indoors by structured activities, parental fears, or the allure of Xbox and air conditioning, kids today enjoy less free-range play than their parents. And given that the effects of play deprivation extend from ADHD to lack of empathy, carving out the time and space for play could be as important to future generations as protecting our wild spaces and natural resources.

Playgrounds are an important community partner in the fight for children’s right to play, but only if they can hold their own in a sea of other options. The first step? Battling the boring. Read more

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