Elementary school students earn $1,000 toward college through summer reading program

The Read to Succeed Summer Program has completed its inaugural effort with 70 percent of participating students earning $1,000 college savings accounts. Those students received certificates at ceremonies today at their respective schools.

Conducted by Read to Succeed, Inc. and funded by the Papitto Foundation, the Program encourages students from three inner-city Providence schools to read during their summer vacation. Students must read six books selected by their teachers as appropriate for their ability. They must also pass a computer-administered test on the books, provided to them at no cost, during their summer vacation. Those who pass six tests receive $1,000 accounts in the Rhode Island CollegeBoundfund(R), the state's tax-advantaged 529 plan.

In the summer of 2008, the Program included fourth graders in the current school term at Highlander Charter School, Bishop McVinney School, and Community Preparatory School. All are located in South Providence, and all serve primarily minority, inner-city, low-income students. Thirty-nine of the 55 students enrolled in the program earned their $1,000 accounts.

"We are proud and extremely happy that, in just its first summer, the Program enabled 39 students to reinforce their studies from the previous year, prepare themselves for the 2008-2009 school year, and begin earning and saving for their college education," said Barbara Papitto, President, Read to Succeed, Inc., Cranston, Rhode Island.

"When students read during the summer, they reinforce the learning of the previous school year," said Robert J. Shapiro, Superintendent Emeritus, Warwick, Rhode Island, Public Schools. "That, along with the college savings account, of course, is the immediate benefit. In the long run, if they become lifelong readers, they give themselves a tremendous advantage over students who read only what it required, and only during the school year." Shapiro is a consultant to the Read to Succeed Summer Program.

Website: http://www.readtosucceedinc.com/