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Academic Success - Y Readers


At the Y, we know that reading proficiently by the end of third grade is a critical milestone for youth– 96% of children who read proficiently at the end of third grade graduate high school. Conversely, students who are not reading proficiently are four times more likely to drop out of high school. The YMCA of Greater Charlotte has partnered with local school districts for over 20 years to offer the Y Readers program.  Although Y Readers has evolved and increased in scale, the program has remained focused on reducing summer learning loss, helping more students read on grade level, and closing the achievement gap between subgroups of students.


Y Readers works closely with leaders in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to identify schools and students with the greatest need for Y Readers.  Y Readers serves students in kindergarten through third grade who are reading below grade level and would benefit from additional academic support during out-of-school time hours. In order to enroll, students must attend the host school and be recommended for the program by their principal or classroom teachers based on reading scores.


Y Readers provides literacy instruction focused on the foundational skills that students need to read proficiently, including phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension. Students participate in a daily minimum of 2.5 hours of literacy instruction during the summer program and 75 minutes during the afterschool program. With a maximum1:8 ratio, our teachers and teachers assistants are able to provide small group, differentiated instruction. We encourage reading at home and provide books to build home libraries.

In addition to literacy instruction, students also participate in a variety of enrichment activities during the summer program. Core activities include character development, physical activity, art, games, and off-site experiences. Weekly field trips during the summer provide opportunities for students to swim at Y branches and explore parts of the city outside of their own neighborhoods. In partnership with CMS, the Y provides bus transportation and meals.

To find out more information about the program, click here to view our 2022-2023 White Pages.


All Y Readers participants are pre- and post-tested to measure reading growth. During the summer, we measure whether students improve or maintain their reading skills, and during the school year, we measure whether students meet or exceed expected growth in reading skills. 59% of afterschool participants met or exceeded baseline growth expectations in reading skills during the 2021-2022 school year, and 75% of summer participants improved or maintained their reading levels during summer 2022. To learn more about Y Readers outcomes, click here to view our annual impact report.