Announcing City’s first Super Reader Neighborhood
Five-year-old Chameiyah Viverette, a resident of the Housing Authority’s Highland Homes neighborhood, issued a challenge to the rest of the City this week: every neighborhood should be a Super Reader neighborhood because reading is fun and it helps kids succeed.
Viverette, joined by City Librarian Paula Kiely and Education Specialist Darrell Finch of the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee, recognized Highland Homes as the city’s first Super Reader neighborhood for its commitment to encouraging summer reading by neighborhood youth. They challenged the City’s other neighborhoods to follow suit.
“Summer reading is incredibly important in the overall educational success of a child,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “If children stop reading over summer break, research shows they can lose up to 3 months in reading skills learned in the previous school year. Over time this summer reading gap can lead to lower graduation rates, continued poverty and fewer career options.”
The Milwaukee Public Library’s Super Reader program is free and does not require a library card. Children and teens can sign up at any Milwaukee Public Library location and get rewards for tracking their reading time.
“Reading just 15 minutes most days of the summer can prevent the summer reading gap,” said City Librarian Paula Kiely. “Parents, I encourage you to spend time reading to your children and help them get access to things they like to read.”
The summer reading program is a critical component of the Milwaukee Public Library’s efforts to promote literacy and learning across the City of Milwaukee. In 2011, more than 20,000 children participated in the program designed to provide children ages 0-12 the motivation and opportunity to spend time reading over the summer and celebrate as a community their reading accomplishments. There is also a special teen program.
The Library and the Housing Authority have partnered to encourage reading in public housing households. All members of the family are encouraged to read together and to increase their education levels together. By partnering with the library, where books are free to read, this effort can reduce the negative impacts of poverty.
The effort in Highland Homes is supported by the Housing Authority’s Education Initiative, which works with over 125 public housing households to ensure that kids stay in school, increase their academic achievement, and graduate. Similar summer reading programs are being duplicated in other public housing neighborhoods such as Hillside, Parklawn and Westlawn.
“Summer is a great time for kids to learn to love reading, and that skill will help them the rest of their lives,” said Darrell Finch, Housing Authority Education Specialist.
“Today, we call upon neighbors, neighborhood leaders and neighborhood associations to ask for your support in reaching every child across our city and helping raise and nurture readers. I want to see Super Reader Neighborhoods popping up all over the City,” said Mayor Barrett.
More information about the summer reading program, including downloadable coloring sheets, social media icons, information placards and more, is available at www.mpl.org/SummerReading.
The Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM) provides safe, high-quality and affordable housing options to over 10,000 Milwaukee families. HACM further provides a wide range of educational, employment, and social services to enhance residents’ self-sufficiency.