When I think of summer, three things come to mind. Sun, sand and…reading!
Reading over the summer goes a long way in helping students avoid the summer slide, the summer loss of academic skills commonly experienced by students, which is considered responsible for as much as 85% of the reading achievement gap between lower- and higher-income children.* We now have research that confirms the benefits of providing year-round access to books and engaging families in literacy activities as it contributes to helping all students maintain and grow their literacy skills.
In 2017, the Scholastic Education Research & Validation team conducted two research studies on summer reading initiatives in Greenville, SC and Stoughton, MA. For the second consecutive year in Greenville, SC, Scholastic collaborated with Public Education Partners and Greenville County Schools to study the effects of the Make Summer Count initiative. Based on the success and the positive findings from the Make Summer Count 2016 research study, Scholastic collaborated with Stoughton Public Schools to develop, implement and research the impact of a similar summer reading initiative in 2017.
Overall, the 2017 summer reading initiatives reached nearly 20,000 elementary students who received free books to build their home libraries, and engaged their families through locally-hosted literacy events. The results of both studies show that when children and their families have the resources they need to read all year long, we see:
- increased volume of reading and confidence in students
- overwhelmingly positive sentiments about reading from families
- fewer students experiencing a loss of skills while school was out
Across both studies, more than 85% of families agreed that the free books their children received through the initiatives contributed to their children reading more over the summer. One of the best ways for students to improve their literacy skills is to read more, so this is a very important finding.
To access additional data and to learn more about these initiatives, visit: http://edublog.scholastic.com/post/empowering-students-and-families-address-summer-reading-loss-greenville-sc-and-stoughton-ma
*Allington, R., and A. McGill-Franzen. Why summers matter in the rich/poor achievement gap. 2009.
Public Education Partners & Scholastic