EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 26, 2013

Merrimack Valley Y Introduces new programs for Lawrence students


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — LAWRENCE — This summer, the Merrimack Valley YMCA will partner with the Francis M. Leahy School to offer Y Readers, a learning loss prevention program for children entering first and second grade who are most at risk of falling behind in their reading skills over the summer.

This YMCA pilot program will provide more than 30 children with literacy instruction led by certified teachers, as well as enrichment through art, music and physical activity.

Studies show that without access to summer learning activities such as camp, travel, and visits to libraries and museums, children from low-income environments can experience more significant learning loss than their economically stable peers. Over time, these children continue to lose ground and by the fifth grade, many are two to three school years behind their middle- and high-income peers.

“At the Merrimack Valley YMCA, we know that the combination of extended learning and enrichment activities is essential to increasing children’s success in school, and we are dedicated to helping more kids achieve their potential,” said James Holmes, YMCA Camp Lawrence Director. “These programs will help ensure children from the City of Lawrence have the opportunity to stay on track over the summer.”

The Merrimack Valley YMCA was selected to pilot Y Readers as part of the YMCA of the USA’s efforts to address gaps in academic achievement among the nation’s most disadvantaged youth.