June 11, 2021
A reading program designed to help kids stay sharp over the summer months has not only returned for a third year in a row—it’s reaching more children and teens than ever this year.
Community Housing Partners (CHP), a nonprofit organization that provides affordable and sustainable housing throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, first launched the CHP Reads! Summer Reading Program in 2019 to help young residents at its apartment communities offset the loss of academic learning over the summer months.
The program featured book fairs, lending libraries, and reading programs and was revamped during the pandemic with contactless book drop-offs, at-home literacy activities, and a reading challenge. It returns this week at twice as many CHP apartment communities as previous years.
“We have doubled the number of properties where we are offering CHP Reads! and are excited about reaching youth who have never had access to a program like this,” said Tiffany Slusher, Resident Services Director of Programs. “This program is not only critical to help students combat the ‘summer slide,’ but also especially important after a challenging academic year for kids who have been dealing with new learning formats, modified schedules, and fewer interactions with their peers during the pandemic.”
According to Slusher, CHP Reads! is providing youth with books, snacks, and reading opportunities at 30 CHP apartment communities throughout Virginia. Last year, staff and volunteers gave out more than 3,800 books to more than 400 children and teens at 14 CHP properties. The Resident Services team hopes to deliver 7,500 books for youth this summer. (Learn more about how CHP Reads! helped expand horizons in 2020.)
National research has shown that the average student loses a month of academic learning every summer, but children who participate in summer reading programs score higher on reading achievement tests at the beginning of the next school year. Enrolled youth in the program receive two books every week to read, enjoy, and keep.
The return of the CHP Reads! Summer Reading Program also coincides with National NeighborWorks Week (June 5-17), a week-long celebration where NeighborWorks organizations spotlight their collective impact and show how they strengthen communities. CHP has been a chartered member of NeighborWorks America since 2003.