Cutting Illiteracy

A Summer Reading Program


Summer Lag

Cutting Illiteracy is a 10-week intensive summer program that aims to reduce summer learning loss or “summer lag” for students. Summer lag can be defined as the “loss of academic skills, educational enhancement, and school-related knowledge.” Many scholars have exhaustively studied summer learning loss and have used it as a correlation between low test scores, the achievement gap, and overall literacy rates. More on, family socioeconomic status (SES) is a primary factor in the educational growth or decline of students during the summer break period. It has been reported that as much as two-thirds of the academic achievement gap, specifically in the area of reading and language arts studies can be traced back to summer lag. This has remained an area that demands our attention especially in urban and rural areas, where “book deserts” and lack to educational resources in the home and community are less prevalent than in more affluent communities.


How Our Program Works

Within the Cutting Illiteracy program, students are required to complete and submit book reports to partnering neighborhood barbershops and beauty salons of "The Root."  The program is specifically catered to boys and gils entering the 1st through 4th grade. Students must complete the reports from a carefully selected reading list of 15 books of culture in a wide range of stories from diverse characters that allow them to explore the areas of reading, language arts, social studies, and much more. All participating locations are in a friendly incentive based reading competition. Top readers of the programs receive rewards for high achievement (e.g., free back-to-school haircut), while all students that successfully complete the requirements of the program receives a program certificate and attend a free pizza party. Students that successfully complete the program are assessed on reading skills retention, reading comprehension, cultural awareness, identity development, and self-esteem.

If you coordinate a summer program, book club or want your student, barbershop or beauty salon to participate, contact us at 


Access your book report below: