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Summer Reading Project - The Institute for the Transformation of Learning / Community Stories Summer 2012

Literacy is a basic life necessity.

Unfortunately, some children in Milwaukee will never develop reading skills, putting them at a distinct disadvantage for the rest of their lives.  But the Institute for the Transformation of Learning is aiming to improve that statistic with its Summer Reading Project.

The program began more than three years ago, following research showing African American fourth graders in Milwaukee had some of the worst reading scores in the nation.  Marquette professor and former MPS Superintendent Dr. Howard Fuller issued a call for action in 2009, asking educational leaders in the City of Milwaukee to join forces to tackle the literacy issue.

Over the last three years, the Summer Reading project has helped hundreds of kids improve their reading skills.

The 6-week cirriculum exposes underperforming students to more than 120 hours of rigorous literacy education.  The project's director Monique Bell says those who complete the tuition-free program often improve their reading ability by more than one grade level.

"Some students have been in situations where they were going to be retained, but as a result of successfully completing this program and improving their skills, they've been promoted to the next grade," she said.

For more information about the Institute for the Transformation of Learning, visit its website.

For the audio version of the story, click the podcast player below.