YMCA of Greater Charlotte

Charlotte, NC


On average, low income children lose 2-3 months of reading skills during the summer months.


87% of K-3 students in Y Readers summer program improve or maintain their reading level.


Students behind in reading at the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. Y Readers works urgently to bring struggling K-3 readers up to grade level, combat summer learning loss, and to ultimately help close the achievement gap.

Y Readers operates as a six-week summer camp at no cost to participants. In summer 2019, 947 students received literacy instruction at 12 Charlotte-area elementary school sites. In addition to literacy instruction, students also participate in swimming and other enrichment activities to provide a true summer camp experience.

Certified classroom teachers and teacher assistants from the elementary school sites staff the program and are able to provide individualized instruction, given the smaller Y Readers class size. “We use data collected at the start of the program to identify students’ learning needs and make instructional decisions,” said Amanda Wilkinson, Director of Literacy and Youth Programs at the YMCA of Greater Charlotte. “Data collected at the end of the program helps us measure program impact. We strive to go beyond summer learning loss prevention and help students make growth in their reading skills that will prepare them for the subsequent school year.”

Y Readers, which was launched in Charlotte, was selected as Y-USA’s national model for summer learning loss prevention in 2012 and has since been replicated at sites across the country. Volunteer reading buddies and parental involvement are core parts of the Y Readers program.

Since 2011, The Belk Foundation has invested $770,000 in the YMCA of Greater Charlotte.