With summer in full swing, many kids are enjoying the outdoors, time with family and, freedom from the classroom. But, with school on pause, young children can experience what is called the “summer slide” – a decline in reading ability and other academic skills during the summer months. While many brands focus on back-to-school as a moment in time to help kids in need, one company is taking a different approach – tackling a season-specific issue through meeting kids where they are, all summer long.
Now in its ninth year, JetBlue is bringing its Soar With Reading program straight to its hometown of New York City. The initiative is tackling book availability in underserved areas through utilizing book vending machines, allowing kids to pick up free books whenever they want, right in their own communities. This iteration of the program will feature vending machines in neighborhoods where the ability to purchase age appropriate books is limited, including one machine in each borough and two in Queens. Each machine will be restocked with new titles every two weeks to keep kids interested, and feature both English and Spanish language books. Beyond children’s books, the Soar with Reading program will also include a select amount of adult literature, because the program has found that parents who display good reading habits can impact the educational outcome of their children. Dr. Susan B. Neuman explains the impact of the program, “Studies have shown that owning 25 books or more has a sizable effect on achievement, with each additional increment of books, such as 10 or more, improving achievement. This program allows children to own books and combat the knowledge loss that so often accompanies summer.”
The Soar with Reading program uncovers a unique and underserved need – that something as simple as proximity to books can impact a children’s learning opportunities. Further, by focusing on the summer months, the airline is tackling the issue at a time of increased urgency. And, to ensure the success of the program, JetBlue has tapped a tried-and-true social impact tenant by meeting consumers where they are – making summer reading fun for everyone.