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Academic Success - Y Readers


Every child deserves the chance to thrive. At the Y, we know that reading proficiently by the end of third grade is a critical milestone in the success of children – one in six children who do not read proficiently by the end of third grade does not graduate from high school on time. The YMCA of Greater Charlotte started Y Readers to address this critical community need by providing high-quality literacy instruction and individualized attention to students who are in jeopardy of slipping through the cracks. The YMCA reading program provides the additional support students need to gain self-confidence and be proficient in reading by the end of third grade.

Program History

The YMCA of Greater Charlotte partnered with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in the summer of 1999 to launch a six-week summer literacy program that served 40 students at Reid Park Academy. Originally called Project Starfish, Y Readers has grown since that first summer to serve over 800 students annually at ten school sites across three school districts. In 2012, YMCA of the USA adopted Y Readers as the YMCA’s national signature program for summer learning loss prevention. The program has since expanded to serve students in 135 sites across the country as part of the nationwide strategy to close the achievement gap.

Our Impact

Since 1999, Y Readers has served over 5,000 students in the greater Charlotte area. In the past three years, nearly 3,000 students were served through summer and before/after school programming, with 98% of after school and 82% of summer participants improving or maintaining their reading level. Y Readers makes a difference in the lives of families, too – 98% of families report that their wellbeing was enhanced through their child’s participation in the program, and 100% of parents witnessed an increase in their child’s confidence as a result of Y Readers.

Read the most recent Y Readers Impact Report.