“89% of students in poverty who did read on grade-level by the end of third grade graduated on time, statistically no different than students who never experienced poverty.” – Education Week 8.7.18

Research shows that 80% of children from low-income families enter kindergarten at a learning deficit and are unable to read proficiently by the end of 3rd grade, a key predictor of high school graduation. The Reading Room increases access to high-quality educational programs and resources in public and affordable housing communities.

Manatee County

Program Overview

The Reading Room at La Mirada Apartments provides high-quality educational and parenting programs to our most vulnerable children and families. By providing educational opportunities in public and affordable housing communities and removing financial and transportation barriers, children and their families can focus on learning.

Program Design

  • FREE high-quality 160-hour summer programming for children 3-12 years old including STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) curriculum and enrichment opportunities
  • E-tablets with learning tools, age-appropriate books and other learning materials
  • 12-week engaging parent and child classes which
    encourage bonding while building early literacy
    skills for children 0-5 years old
  • 12-week ESOL (English for Speakers of Other
    Languages) adult classes for residents, parents
    and caregivers
  • VITA: FREE Voluntary Income Tax Assistance for
    families on site

2017 Summer Program Design & Outcomes

  • Community neighborhood housing partnership established between United Way Suncoast and La Mirada Garden Apartments
  • Site renovation of community room and neighborhood place based site established at La Mirada Garden Apartments
  • 11 community partners established to provide program resources, instruction, enrichment, in-kind donations and financial support.
  • Summer program for 30 children ages 3-12 years, 125 hours over 7 weeks
  • 586 books read over 7 weeks SCGLR Summer Book Challenge

2018 Summer Program Design & Outcomes

  • Expansion of technology IPADs and desktops at La Mirada Reading Room
  • Summer Program with 30 children, ages 3-12 years old, 170 hours over 8 weeks
  • STEAM (Science Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) Curriculum
  • 13 Community Partners established to provide program resources, instruction, enrichment, in-kind donations and financial support.
  • Academic measurements developed
  • Increase social capital and support of families and children


  • Continue summer programming at La Mirada Garden Apartments
  • Expand Enrichment opportunities in the Arts, Science and Technology
  • After school tutoring program
  • Authentic parent engagement program on site to support ALICE families
  • Identify & design second UWS Reading Room location at community neighborhood housing surrounding Title 1 school