TROY, OH— 24 October 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.”

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

About Kids Read Now
Founded in 2011 by Barbara and Leib Lurie with support from One Call Now, Kids Read Now was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to address the problem of the summer reading slide. Kids Read Now seeks to keep children reading over the summer to prevent learning loss and grow reading skills. Kids Read Now distributed 9,000 books to 1,200 students in summer 2013. In years past, children who participate in Kids Read Now have demonstrated higher post-program reading fluency than their non-participating peers. The effort is jointly funded by the One Call Now Foundation, the United Way, Optimists International, and private donations. For more information, visit

About One Call Now
One Call Now is America’s largest message notification provider, with 20 percent of American households—55 million Americans—depending on the company for messages that protect, inform, and engage. Schools nationwide use One Call Now’s high-speed, fully redundant service to quickly and easily send messages to thousands of staff and parents simultaneously. Founded in 2002, One Call Now was recently named as a District Administration Top 100 Product for Schools and to Inc. Magazine’s Honor Roll, having made its list of the fastest growing privately held companies in America for five consecutive years. One Call Now is proud to support the Mission of Educators through partnerships with anti-bullying organization Olweus, sponsorship of The Million T-Shirt March Against Bullying, free levy calls for schools, and, One Call Now’s national summer reading program designed to stop the summer reading slide in elementary schools. For more information, please visit

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One Call Now Media Contact:
Christina Brownlee
Director of Corporate Communications
877-698-3262 ext. 2323 (office)
937-479-9287 (mobile)

Kids Read Now Media Contact:
Lindsay Woodruff
Assistant Director
937-405.9136 (mobile)

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