WVPA Sharing

Read-A-Palooza 2023 is tonight at 5:30 p.m. at University of Charleston’s Riggleman Rotunda

WV Press Release Sharing

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Read Aloud WV reminds everyone that Read-A-Palooza 2023: Binge on Books is tonight from 5:30-7:30 pm in the University of Charleston’s Riggleman Rotunda:

We invite you to join us in uplifting the success of our Summer Book Binges at Read-A-Palooza 2023: Binge on Books on Thursday, March 9 from 5:30-7:30 pm in the University of Charleston’s Riggleman Rotunda.

The event celebrates the significant impact of giving books that children choose before summer break, preventing and even reversing the loss of reading proficiency that sets back many students when school is out of session.

Heavy appetizers, beer, and wine will be served. A small silent auction will be available, as well as our popular Wine Pull. For $20 per pull, this activity sends participants home with a bottle of wine selected blindly from an array of options, all worth $20 or more.

Proceeds from Read-A-Palooza help fund Read Aloud programs throughout West Virginia, which are designed to engage all members of our communities in motivating children to want to read. Tickets are $35, available for purchase at readaloudwv.org/tickets. Corporate and individual sponsorships, as well as donations in lieu of attendance, are all gratefully accepted.

Significant sponsors of last year’s Read-A-Palooza include Moses Auto Group and The Elliot Foundation. Thank you to all businesses and community members who have contributed to the success of this fundraiser in the past. Your support is essential to continue to grow research-based reading interventions like Summer Book Binge.

Summer Book Binge is just one of the choice-based book distributions Read Aloud does that has helped us put over 20,000 books in the hands of students in 2022. The method is based on research that showed that six self-selected books given to students prior to summer break could motivate children to read for fun, helping to combat learning loss that occurs when students don’t practice their skills during school breaks. This loss of reading proficiency is most prevalent with low-income students who have fewer opportunities outside of school to practice reading than their middle- and high-income peers, putting them at a disadvantage when they return to school. Learning loss is cumulative, and over time, it can set students back years behind their classmates.

Summer Book Binge showed promising results combatting this proficiency loss in three schools we served in spring of 2022. The first two were Cottageville and Gilmore Elementaries in Jackson County, where 84% of rising 4th graders either increased or maintained their Lexile level over the break. These distributions were made possible by support from the Jackson County Community Foundation.

Last year, we also worked with Chesapeake Elementary School in the upper-Kanawha valley to bring their students Summer Book Binge thanks to a grant from The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation. We selected Chesapeake as a partner for program expansion because approximately 77% of Chesapeake students were not proficient readers in 2020-21.

After providing all students with six freely-chosen books to read during break, over half (53%) of the students gained or maintained their reading skills over the summer. Of those who experienced skill erosion, 38% were already reading above grade level prior to break and remained above grade level in the fall.

That means that 71% of Chesapeake students tested before and after summer break had a positive result in their reading proficiency scores following Summer Book Binge.

We know from past experience that the positive impacts of this program are cumulative, much like the learning loss it’s designed to prevent. As we continue to work with Chesapeake, Cottageville, and Gilmore, we anticipate consistent gains in reading proficiency that will build on each other, setting students up for long-term success in reading.

We hope you will join us at Read-A-Palooza tonight as we promote and celebrate the importance of choice-based book distributions on the literacy of WV students.

Amanda Schwartz is the Read Aloud WV Communications & Development Director.

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