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 Summer reading is fun...but it's not just for fun
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Summer readers maintain or advance their reading skills

The summer setback is real, and it is cumulative. By 6th grade, summer readers can enjoy as much as a two-year advantage over their non-reading peers.

"Reading well is at the heart of all learning. Children who can't read well, can't learn. Help make a difference."
--From the U.S. Department of Education's website, Simple Strategies for Creating Strong Readers -- Helping Your Child Become a Reader, accessed March 2012.

Study after study confirms that children who read over the summer suffer less--or no--academic loss when school resumes in the fall. Moreover, children who choose their own reading materials are more likely to enjoy reading, and therefore to read more.

"We discovered that about two-thirds of the ninth-grade academic achievement gap between disadvantaged youngsters and their more advantaged peers can be explained by what happens over the summer during the elementary school years...

Statistically, lower income children begin school with lower achievement scores, but during the school year, they progress at about the same rate as their peers. Over the summer, it’s a dramatically different story. During the summer months, disadvantaged children tread water at best or even fall behind. It’s what we call “summer slide” or “summer setback.” But better off children build their skills steadily over the summer months. The pattern was definite and dramatic. It was quite a revelation."
--Carl Alexander, summarizing a 2007 Johns Hopkins study about the effects of summertime reading on academic achievement. See a summary here, or access the entire research here.

As children age, their available time for self-selected reading diminishes during the school year; summertime reading is the perfect opportunity for students to explore their interests and to expand their curiosity.

Librarians help children discover their world by helping children discover compelling stories and information at appropriate interest and skill levels.

Following are links to original research on summer reading, as well as analysis of that research. We hope you'll explore these links, and better understand that summertime reading is a lot of fun, but it isn't just for fun. It matters in the lives of our children, and in the success of our community.

Summer reading loss, by Maryann Mraz and Timothy V. Rasinski, 2007. Originally published in The Reading Teacher, 60(8). International Reading Association. 784-789.

Study links a lack of academic achievements, high dropout rate, to summertime learning loss, by Carl Alexander. Research in Brief article, National Learning Association, (2007).

Building a nation of readers begins at home, by Dennis Van Roekel. Schools of Thought blog, CNN.com, March 12, 2012.

The importance of summer reading: Public Library Summer Reading Programs and Learning, by Karen Balsen and Douglas Moore. New York State Library Research Brief #1, Jan. 2010 (updated  Nov. 2011).

Research links summer break, achievement gap, by Larry Abramson. Transcript of Day to Day from NPR News story, July 9, 2007.

The impact of summer setback on the reading achievement gap  by Richard L. Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen. The Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 85, No. 1 (Sep., 2003), pp. 68-75.

Stop summer academic loss : an education policy priority. by Malbert Smith III and Dee Brewer. White paper published by MetaMetrics, Inc., 2007.

Prevent summer reading loss, a bibliography of research and activities published by the Alaska State Library, accessed March 2012.

Helping your child become a reader: libraries, tips on using the public library, compiled by the U.S. Department of Education, accessed March 2012.


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