June 22, 2020

CHP Reads! logoA reading program developed to offset the loss of academic learning over the summer months is back for a second year—and needed more than ever.

Community Housing Partners (CHP), a nonprofit organization that provides affordable and sustainable housing throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, is continuing its CHP Reads! Summer Reading Program. First launched in 2019, the program works to stave off the “summer slide” by providing youth at 14 CHP apartment communities in Virginia and Florida with books, snacks, and activities to encourage reading through the summer.

National research finds that students who participate in summer reading programs scored higher on reading achievement tests at the beginning of the next school year than those who did not participate. The amount of time that children spend reading outside of school is linked to gains in reading achievement, and numerous studies show that access to books and magazines is directly related to higher reading achievement. With children being sent home to finish out the school year online, most experts agree that students will have fallen even more behind.

“CHP Reads! is critical for many reasons this year beyond combating the typical learning loss our youth experience over the summer,” said Tiffany Slusher, Resident Services Director of Programs. “With limited opportunities to engage with their peers and non-family members, CHP Reads! will provide opportunities for purposeful, individual interactions while sharing the common experience of reading.”

Last year, the CHP Reads! Program included book fairs, building and stocking lending libraries, and reading programs throughout the summer. This year, the campaign will still provide enrolled youth with books, but it has been revamped to meet new safety standards in response to COVID-19. This will include contactless delivery drop-off of books, at-home literacy-based activities, and a community reading chain challenge. (Read more about how CHP passed out over 2,400 books last year.)

CHP Reads! will be offered in two series lasting three weeks, with all programs starting by July 6 and wrapping up by mid-August. Youth enrolled in the program will receive two books every week to read, enjoy, and keep.

“Book distribution can be individualized and provide something consistent and positive at a time when uncertainty is routine and excitement may be lacking,” Slusher added. “We hope CHP Reads! can replace the black hole where technology and isolation meet and ultimately create lifelong readers as our youth escape from the current norm.”

CHP is welcoming donations of new or gently used books for children and teenagers. To learn more about donating books in your community, contact Tiffany Slusher at tslusher@chpc2.org. Monetary donations may also be made so that CHP can purchase new books. To donate, select “CHP Reads!” from the drop-down menu in CHP’s online donation portal.

Participating CHP properties include Ansell Gardens Apartments in Portsmouth, Virginia; Cross Creek Apartments in Portsmouth, Virginia; Friendship Village Apartments in Virginia Beach, Virginia; Greenstone on 5th Apartments in Charlottesville, Virginia; Horizon House and Sunset Apartments in Gainesville, Florida; Laurel Woods Apartments in Pulaski, Virginia; Linden Green Apartments in Christiansburg, Virginia; Maplewood Apartments in Martinsville, Virginia; Meadowview Apartments in Pulaski, Virginia; Normandy Apartments in Jacksonville, Florida; Parkside Gardens Apartments in Ocala, Florida; Woodlawn Terrace Apartments in St. Augustine, Florida; The Woods in Yorktown, Virginia; and Yorktown Square and Rivermeade Apartments in Yorktown, Virginia.