The achievement gap between rich and poor.

It widens every summer.

It’s not easy to get students to do their summer reading. But more and more studies are showing it’s crucial. In fact, students who read during the summer are far more successful at maintaining — and enhancing — the knowledge they’ve gained during the school year. Students who don’t read, on the other hand, lose valuable ground in the academic process.

The real problem is with underprivileged students. They lack the resources higher-income families can provide such as ready access to books and mentoring — along with extra-curricular learning activities such as educational camps and trips.

You shouldn’t need to be affluent to be fluent in reading.

This achievement gap is more than just a theory. Consider these recent statistics for statistics for Providence, provided by the 2014 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook:

By the 4th grade, only 52% of students read at their grade levelBy the 8th grade, this proficiency only increases to 49%