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Oct 25

SXSWedu Welcomes Kids Read Now as Speakers for 2014 Conference

Dayton area nonprofit to lead discussion panel on summer reading slide at 2014 conference 

KidsReadNowTROY, OH— Oct. 24, 2013 “Summer slide” happens when kids stop reading over summer break, dropping knowledge they’ve gained over the past year. By ninth grade, this learning lag accounts for roughly two-thirds of reading achievement gaps. And it especially affects children from lower-income families. Next March, the summer reading slide will gain a national platform.

“Ending the Summer Slide: Collaborate and Innovate” was chosen from more than 700 proposals vying to present at the 2014 SXSWedu Conference & Festival. Held just before the main SXSW event, the four-day SXSWedu conference brings together leaders from across the learning landscape, including teachers, administrators, university professors, and business and policy leaders.

The panel discussion on the summer reading slide will feature Nan Whaley, City Commissioner of the City of Dayton, Ohio; Barbara Lurie, Executive Director of Kids Read Now; Thomas Lasley, Director of nonprofit Learn to Earn; and Garry Martin, Principal of Demmitt Elementary School in Vandalia, Ohio. Drawing on diverse experiences in the government, education, and nonprofit sectors, the panelists will address the following questions:

  • What are the long-term implications of the summer reading slide and its consequences for communities as a whole?
  • What unique strengths can governments, teachers, and nonprofits offer to students and to one another to stem summer learning loss?
  • How can communities work together across sectors more effectively, and what benefit does collective impact bring to children struggling with the summer reading slide?

“The summer slide is a very real, very serious issue with life-altering consequences for our most vulnerable children.  What communities need to realize is that it is much bigger than just schools, just teachers.  We need to work together if we want our children to beat the slide and go on to succeed in school and employment,” said Barbara Lurie, co-founder and executive director of Kids Read Now.

The session was chosen using SXSWedu’s PanelPicker tool, designed to encourage public participation in the event. Members of the education community were invited to submit session proposals; the general public then cast its opinion via an online vote. More than 30,000 public votes were cast, and “Ending the Summer Slide” was one of more than 100 sessions and workshops chosen.

Community voting accounts for 30% of the session selection process; Advisory Board input accounts for 40%, and SXSWedu staff evaluations are weighted at 30%.

The 2014 SXSW Conference & Festival will be held in Austin, Texas on March 3-6, 2014. Learn more at www.sxswedu.com.