Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program helps preserve reading skills

This summer, the Wabash County YMCA was one of only 25 cities in the nation piloting the Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program. Locally, 55 students entering first and second grade this fall participated in SPARK, which stands for Summer Program of Awesome Reading for Kids.

In collaboration with MSD of Wabash County and Wabash City Schools, SPARK provided literacy instruction from certified teachers to ensure that students in the program did not experience summer learning loss, but in fact gained reading skills and can begin this coming school year at grade level. The program was made possible through support from YMCA of the USA and The Lutheran Foundation.

According to reading assessments delivered during the program, students in SPARK gained an average of two and half months of reading ability over the course of the six week program. Students also experienced many enriching activities such as art, music, physical activity and character development and field trips. These activities were made possible by the deep spirit of collaboration in Wabash County.

The Wabash County YMCA would like to thank all the volunteers and community partners who helped make the program successful. Thank you to the Honeywell Center and Teresa Galley for providing arts education and memorable performances. Thank you to Wabash Marketplace, Inc. and Patrick Sullivan who started a community garden, and Purdue Extension Master Gardeners Curt Campbell, Cheryl Weir, and Julie Adams who helped it grow. Thanks to Angela Christopher, Teresa Witkoske and Wabash County 4-H youth who gave SPARK campers the opportunity to create projects and show at the county fair. And thank you to Sarah Angluim, who brought a nutrition program to our family workshop.

Thank you to Mike Beauchamp and the Wabash River Defenders, who educated our campers about protecting a local treasure and to Debbie Bryant and other local therapy dogs, who helped us "paws for reading." Thanks to the Wabash County Historical Museum for allowing campers to explore the past with teaching trunks. Thank you also to Living Well in Wabash County and Wabash County Transit, which helped provide transportation and to Harvey Hinklemeyers, which sponsored our Reading Rewards program.

We'd like to extend special thank you to each of our "Reading Buddies," for providing encouragement through reading with our campers this summer. Thank you to: Jami Bartell, Nancy Givens, Brooke Sparks, Kimberly Pinkerton, Michael Mattern, Erika Ford, Melissa Ford, Jane Keith, Skip Daughtry, Pat Brubaker, Cody Beeks, Emma Flynn, Alex Honeycutt, Makayla Ridgeway, Nancy Barrows, Melinda Davis, Rhonda Daniel, Jason Callahan, Caleb Callahan, Jan Roland, Michele Hough, Judy Gaines, Ginger Louden, Bailey Louden, Brianna Martinez, Steffany Pegg, DeAnne Clifton, Candy Russell, Evelynn Gray, Katy Gray, Linda Howard, George Howard, Walter Stapleton II, Cody Beeks, Debbie Bryant, Cathi Hampton, Austin Dewey, Kati Gray, Barb Ihnen, Ware Wimberly, Blake Price, Kindi Kugler, Clint Kugler, Corinne Kugler, Camille Kugler, Brittany Stone and Kay Peas. Thank you also to the Wabash Carnegie Public Library for providing expertise and books during the program.

To learn more about the Wabash County YMCA or discuss how you can get involved in youth development programs, please contact Amanda Jones-Layman at 260-563-9622 or

Posted on 2013 Aug 20