Summer Link Read-a-Thon

summer link

Over Winter Break, Overlake’s Summer Link Program is organizing a Read-a-Thon, encouraging Middle School students to read for pleasure and contribute to an important Overlake program. We sat down with the Summer Link Director, Nate Edmunds, to learn more about the program and event.

Q: First, tell us more about Summer Link. Who are the students in the program and what is its overarching goal?

A: Summer Link is for students in our local public schools who have demonstrated economic and academic needs. Students who are at or below grade level in math and reading often experience the “summer slide” in middle school, and without access to summer enrichment, they are at a significant disadvantage when they transition into high school. Summer Link’s goal is to eliminate that gap, as we help students solidify the learning from the previous year and prepare for the upcoming one.

Q: Summer 2023 will be Summer Link’s third year. How did the first two years go? And what are the focal points for the upcoming summer?

A: Our students made incredible progress during the first two years. Not only have their math and reading scores improved, but they participate more in class and are more engaged in extracurricular activities. Looking forward, we are focused on building the curriculum for the 8th and 9th grade cohorts, as we know the needs of those ages are different than 6th and 7th graders. We’ve also bolstered the “during the school year” support for Summer Link students. This fall we launched a tutoring program that matched Overlake students with Summer Link students, which was a great success. We’ll do two more rounds of that in the winter and spring so that we can stay connected to the students and find even more ways for Overlake students to support the program.

Q: Tell us about the Read-a-Thon. Why are you doing it? How can families participate?

A: As we continue to expand Summer Link, we will need additional funding to ensure the students have what they need to thrive, so the revenue from this will directly support the student experience this summer. In Summer 2023, we’ll add the third cohort to the program, and then in Summer 2024 we’ll add the fourth cohort. The Read-a-Thon is simple: you make a pledge to contribute a certain amount per page that your child reads over winter break. At the end of break, you count the pages and make your donation. We see this as a great way for Overlake students to read over break for a good cause, and we hope it generates dialogue about how Overlake can contribute to the larger educational landscape through a program like Summer Link. The event is geared for Middle School students and families, but anyone is welcome to join.

The read-a-thon will run from December 17-January 2. To sign up, complete the pledge form. To learn more about Summer Link, please visit the website and watch the promotional video. You can also email the Summer Link Director, Nate Edmunds (