PORTLAND – A Portland woman has made it her mission to make sure kids pick up books and read during the summer, so they don’t fall behind in school.
Rebekah Star, who describes herself as a “literacy volunteer,” raised money for the program through her group called ‘Change the Definition.’
“For me it means change the definition of ‘at risk’ kids, kids that are falling behind,” Star explained. “A lot of the kids come from high-poverty situations."
She added that research has found 66 percent of kids who aren't reading proficiently by the third grade will end up in a cycle of poverty and 25 percent of kids who live in poverty don't even own a book.
Teachers of 1st and 2nd graders identified kids who needed extra help and connected them to Star’s free literacy program.
“If kids are reading continuously through the summer for 6 weeks, then we know they have the opportunity to pick up where they left off," Star said.
Change the Definition raised money for the Irvington Literacy Project by modeling itself after other successful companies.
“At Tom's Shoes, you buy a pair of shoes and they give a pair of shoes. I thought, ‘Why can't I do the same thing, only fund education?’" she explained.
KGW reporter Cathy Marshall contributed to this report.