Reading Feeding Frenzy Program

Number of individual participants in the Summer Reading Feeding Frenzy (unduplicated count)

602019

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Story Behind the Curve

What We Do

While summer is a time for fun and relaxation, for some children in Moore County it can also mean fewer meals and limited access to learning enrichment programs. These months away from school can lead to setbacks in learning and compromises the progress made during the academic year. Inspired by the vision that all children in the county will have access to quality summer learning activities, in 2017 the Southern Pines Public Library, Moore County Library, and Given Memorial Library collaborated and started the Reading Feeding Frenzy program. This program has moved the focus out of brick and mortar libraries and into the neighborhoods that they serve- especially those with high concentrations of lower income families, where transportation is often a barrier.

On Fridays during the summer, children who come for Reading Feeding Frenzy spend an hour reading together, singing songs, trying out science experiments, creating craft items, and practicing drawing and writing skills. They enjoy lunch during the session, and take home a book each week to read on their own or with a family member.

 

Who We Serve

The program serves children in low-income neighborhoods located in three different geographical areas of the county. Libraries work with local advocates and partners in the community to connect with families—for example church leaders, low-income housing managers, and community elders.

2019: 

Summer of 2019 saw some changes to the RFF program. Due to school schedules, the program was reduced from 10 weeks to 9 weeks. Given Memorial Library moved from the Jackson Hamlet site, which was no longer viable, to Taylortown. In Southern Pines, at Brookside Park Apartments, Library staff engaged with families to register their children and send them consistently every week to get the maximum benefit. This allowed staff to establish long term relationships with the children. While this resulted in lower numbers of total children served, the same children came to the programs each week and gained maximum benefit from summer literacy interactions.  Moore County Library, based in Carthage, did not receive the same community support this year as in the past. Due to circumstances beyond their control, this site started late and had to discontinue service part of the way through the summer, resulting in only five sessions held.

 

Lunches included fresh veggies with dip, fresh fruit, and a wrap sandwich (ingredients varied). In the past, these were served already bagged. This year, the items were offered individually so kids could pick the items they would eat, in order to reduce waste. They were encouraged to select at least two. This allowed them to make choices, with left-overs available to those who wanted more to take them home for a future meal.

Partners

The kitchen staff at Penick Village, a local Continuing Care Retirement Community prepared delicious and nutritious bagged lunches that were delivered by Rotarian and Interact Club volunteers. Donations for lunches, books, water, and supplies came from Kiwanis Club of the Sandhills, the Galtere Family, Rotary Club of the Sandhills, Southern Pines Rotary Club, FirstHealth, and Friends of Southern Pines Public Library.

What Works
Action Plan

Reading Feeding Frenzy was born from the need to provide educational opportunities to areas where transportation and literacy activities are few, serving children more likely than their peers to be reading below grade level. We plan to continue and expand the program with the support from each of the involved communities and libraries. After reading a feature article about the program’s first summer in the local newspaper, new donors offered their support to fund meals and books in the second year. In the coming years we will look for additional partners and examine the possibility of adding sites.

The program received a literacy award from the North Carolina Public Library Directors Association and was featured as a 2018 Bright Spot by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. We also hope that our initial successes might constitute a model for others who have identified a similar challenge and are ready to try something new. The benefits for children and communities are real, and the promise can be realized.

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