Jason Glass, Kentucky's Commissioner of Education

Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass joined Bullitt County students a guest reader during the Summer Boost program at the Hillside Community Center and Northside Apartments on June 15.

The Summer Boost: Reading and Mathematics Program is a partnership between Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), the Summer Food Service Program and the Children’s Reading Foundation.

The program promotes family engagement in reading and math by giving away free books and fun items – such as wristbands, bookmarks and magnets – intended to motivate and remind families to read at least 20 minutes every day. The Summer Boost Program works with several Summer Feeding program sites to provide additional learning opportunities for students.

Glass read two books at each site: “Oh No, George!” by Chris Haughton and “The Pigeon Needs a Bath!” by Mo Willie. He said he was excited to be with the students and their families to share some of his own family’s favorite books and support summer learning.

“We know during the summertime our students lose some of the supports around reading and math and there is a drop in literacy. The Summer Boost program is a great way to attend to our students’ nutritional needs and hone those early learning experiences over the summer. I’m proud KDE is supporting these efforts,” said Glass.

Children may lose up to three months of literacy and numeracy skills during summer break when they are not given an opportunity to practice what they learned during the school year. While it is always important to keep children and students engaged in summer reading and mathematics, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought more visibility to the need for accelerated learning.

Bullitt County Public Schools (BPCS) currently hosts 11 summer support sites and offers the Summer Boost program on Wednesdays. This is the first year BCPS has participated in the Summer Boost program, and the first time since 2019 the district has been able to offer summer feeding programs in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kristen Axline, a kindergarten teacher at Freedom Elementary, currently serves as the coordinator at five of the sites. Axline becomes a friendly, trusted resource to the students and families that participate. 

“Summer Boost is important because it keeps the kids excited about learning. It also gives me a chance to talk to the families and provide them with resources,” she said.

Hope Ashley, a parent of a 6th-grader at Hebron Middle School and a 1st-grader and kindergarten student at Shepherdsville Elementary, said she enjoys bringing her children to the Summer Boost activity every week. Her oldest child loves working on puzzles and challenging himself with the activities.

“He likes to do things to keep his mind going,” she said.

Pippa Byrant, a student at Mt. Washington Elementary, said summer reading comes easy to her, and she often reads with her mother.

“I love reading. I like to read fantasy, ghost books,” she said.

All Kentucky families can visit the Summer Support webpages for more information and resources to make learning a part of their daily summer routines.

Other resources available on the webpages include literacy and mathematics, and for the gifted and talented.