Rays reading program helps kids over the summer

Posted at 9:43 AM, Apr 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-29 12:05:08-04
Many parents want kids to have a fun summer, while not forgetting what they've learned during the school year. We're taking action for you with some ideas to prevent the "summer slide."
Reading with the Rays 
The Tampa Bay Rays, Suncoast Credit Union and Rays third baseman Evan Longoria team up with the Tampa Bay Times Newspaper in Education for the summer reading program, “Reading with the Rays—Read Your Way to the Ballpark.”  Reading with the Rays is made possible through a partnership with the public library systems in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Citrus, Polk, Pasco and Hernando counties.
More than 20,000 bay area students participated over the summer from nine surrounding counties. Reading with the Rays encourages kids to avoid summer reading loss by reading 24 hours over the summer months. Participating libraries track their progress and award prizes for reaching certain goals, including free tickets to a Rays game. The 2016 program begins on June 12th with the insert in the Tampa Bay Times.
United Way programs
  • General Info:
  • How people sign their children up: UWS provides a half-million dollars in scholarship funds that are individually dispersed to a selection of our partner agencies and support sites in the community, such as YMCA and B&G Clubs. These partner agencies then select the children/families that will receive them, based upon need. 
  • Are there still spots available?: Since UWS leaves the sole discretion up to the individual Summer Camp programs at each of our Summer Care Program sites as to whom to award the scholarships to, we do not actively know if any have spots available, and if they do, how many are available. Contacting each site (or a specific one you have in mind) will be the avenue to take to find out if they have spots open.
  • Cost to participate? Many of the community agencies’ Summer Camps do have a cost involved to participate (that would be in addition to any regular costs); there are some that do not, but this is based on their individual budgets and the needs of the children they serve. The children that are awarded the UWS-funded scholarships to the Summer Care programs at our sites end up having all of any associated costs covered. 

Students at our Summer Care sites receive “Summer Bridge Books.” These are funded during a live-auction at our annual Art of Giving gala (on May 19th this year). Last year’s auction raised $24K in less than 20 minutes, and we expect to exceed that number this year. Most sites have tutors available too, though because of the ratio of tutors:students, there is not a guarantee that each students will get a tutor. It also is based upon need.

YMCA program Power Scholars Camp
This is aimed at helping kids who may have been behind during the year. Teachers do a reading and math block in the morning, then fun learning in the afternoon. There are still spots available and it is $50 per week. 
Apps to help learning

Counting Caterpillar

  • For ages 4 to 5; $1.99; iPhone, iPad

Marble Math Junior

  • Ages 6 to 8; $2.99; iPhone, iPad


  • Ages 9 to 11; $0.99; iPhone, iPad

Thinking Blocks Multiplication

  • Ages 7 to 10; Free; iPhone, iPad

Chore Monster: FREE