96,000 Minutes of Reading

On their 3rd year of using the ThinkStretch Summer Learning Program, everyone at Abbot Elementary had reason to be proud this fall as students, parents and teachers celebrated the completion of over 120 ThinkStretch Summer Learning books. Just over the course of last summer alone, Abbot students read over 96,000 minutes, completed over 30,000 math facts and wrote in excess of 7,680 journal entries.

ThinkStretch Abbott Elementary Gold Medals 2013

Abbot Elementary is a school of just under 300 students, with nearly 40% representing an ethnic minority and over 1/3 of students eligible for the free lunch program. A neighborhood school that draws from 1950s era brick ranches as well as low income housing units, Abbott is a close knit community of teachers and parents, according to current parents.

However, Abbot has it challenges. Representing a cross section of the larger community, not all students at Abbot have equal access to summer learning opportunities. Principal Pam Sica recognizes the detrimental effect that summer learning loss has on every student and the cumulative effect it has on her most at-risk students.

In 2010, Principal Sica brought the ThinkStretch Summer Learning Program to Abbot Elementary. Offering a grade specific summer workbook and a parent guide to summer to every K-4 student, Principal Sica began building a culture of summer learning at her school.  At a kick off with students, a short DVD of the Professor sending his Brain on summer vacation humorously explained to students why they needed to keep learning over the summer.

The students took the message to heart and have displayed perseverance completing their summer learning activities. The first summer was a test of faith. Students had to believe that if they read, practiced math and wrote over the summer that Principal Sica would come through with the promised reward.

The very first summer, about 80 students completed their books for a gold medal. That was just the beginning, now finishing their 3rd summer, students at Abbot earned over 120 gold medals, a 50% increase from the first summer.

Abbot elementary now has an established school culture of year round learning. When the school door closes on the academic year, students pick up the challenge and continue their learning throughout the summer with the ThinkStretch Summer Learning Program. The stories of their fun with home science activities thrill their teachers, who welcome students to the new year with achievement medals for the students efforts and new material learn!

“I am so happy we went with this program!” praises Principal Sica.

I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity for ThinkStretch to help the kids at Abbot combat summer learning loss. If you’re interested in how to get started in setting up a summer learning program at your school, visit www.thinkstretch.com to learn more.

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