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HomeNewsNew Mexico Summer Reading Program Officially Launched

New Mexico Summer Reading Program Officially Launched

As summer begins, the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) has officially launched its $30 million Summer Reading Program, aimed at combating the “summer slide” and improving literacy across the state for 8,981 who have enrolled in the program.

Families across New Mexico have been encouraged to register their children through a media campaign utilizing radio, television, newspapers, and social media. Thanks to their efforts, the PED reported that 8,981 students enrolled in the Summer Reading Program. Registration is still open, and the program welcomes students from incoming kindergartners to outgoing eighth graders.

The program’s objectives are to enhance literacy skills, measure student progress, and build academic confidence. PED Communications Director, Janelle Garcia, emphasized the broad benefits of the program, noting that it targets the entire student population rather than specific groups.

Recruiting reading instructors has been a significant part of the program’s preparation, and thanks to their outreach, the program has 2,775 instructors who have applied, beating their requirement of 2,500 instructors for the program.

The PED, along with the governor’s office and the Higher Education Department (HED), has actively sought current or retired educators, faculty members, and pre-service educators to serve as literacy mentors, though no educational background nor teaching experience was required to be hired as an instructor. These instructors, who have undergone up to four days of training led by literacy experts, are being paid $35 per hour for their time. They have committed to a minimum of 25 hours per week.

According to Garcia, the number of instructor positions had been a moving target as the PED worked to match sites with instructors. Because they have more instructors than they searched for, PED is no longer taking applications for instructors.

The PED plans to evaluate the program’s effectiveness through several methods. Garcia said PED will assess pre- and post-summer program work, and track students’ progress throughout the school year to measure the impact. An external organization will conduct a “longitudinal evaluation” to ensure comprehensive assessment and accountability.

While many tutoring sites have registered to participate, some areas of the state do not yet have a Summer Reading Program site. The PED is working to establish virtual programming for these remote areas and is making personal contact to address barriers to participation.

The start and end dates of the program vary by school district calendars. Most programs launched on either June 3 or June 10 and will run for two to six weeks, depending on the community.

Gracia said the success of New Mexico’s Summer Reading Program relies heavily on community partnerships and the dedication of instructors. As the program continues, families are encouraged to register their children and take advantage of this free opportunity to enhance literacy skills and prevent the summer slide.

Some areas of New Mexico do not yet have a Summer Reading Program tutoring site, so the Public Education Department (PED) is establishing virtual programming to address barriers to participation in these remote areas.
Some areas of New Mexico do not yet have a Summer Reading Program tutoring site, so the Public Education Department (PED) is establishing virtual programming to address barriers to participation in these remote areas.