Innovation & Improvement
The Summer Bridges is an extended learning program designed to improve the reading, writing, and mathematical skills of students enrolled from pre-kindergarten through grade 6 in districts where a significant number of students do not meet state learning standards based on the ISAT. The Summer Bridges Program is a 90 hour instructional program in reading and writing during the summer or prior to the beginning of a school year. This program is designed for students who are at risk of academic failure in pre-kindergarten through grade 6 with a concentrated curriculum on reading and writing.
Funding is provided by the Illinois State Legislature, supported by the Governor, and administered by the Illinois State Board of Education. Districts provide a local contribution of 20% and must agree to integrate the Summer Bridges literacy framework into the regular school year.
Districts are notified in writing of their eligibility based on a school's performance on the ISAT reading assessment. Any student in an eligible district who is not meeting reading standards may participate in the program. The guideline document outlines the program requirements. Eligible districts that decide to participate submit a program plan, schedule, proposal budget, and budget breakdown sheet to ISBE. (See exhibits). Schools must submit an enrollment count to ISBE based on the sixth day of the program.
Summer Bridges focuses on reading within a print-rich environment. Participating districts select instructional material to promote word knowledge, fluency, comprehension, and writing. ISBE does not recommend vendors but provides a vendor's list to eligible districts. Selection of instructional materials is a local decision. A consumer's guide on reading materials compiled for Reading First districts may be useful when purchasing materials.