Early Childhood Report Roundup

Recess Length

By Jaclyn Zubrzycki — April 17, 2012 1 min read
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The amount of time kindergartners spend at recess varies widely across the United States, but that variation doesn’t seem to affect their reading achievement, according to a new study.

In research posted online this month in Education Policy Analysis Archives, researcher Ummuhan Yesil Dagli of Yildiz Technical University in Turkey looks at data on 3,951 students enrolled in public, full-day kindergarten. She found that white students and high-income students spend the most time in recess, while black and Hispanic students and students of low-socioeconomic status got less time. But recess length had little bearing on end-of-year reading-test scores, after accounting for other factors that might affect learning.

The analysis shows, however, that certain combinations of recess and instructional time seem to yield slightly higher reading scores. The optimal combinations seem to be one or more recesses held throughout the day that add up to 45 or more minutes in all and twice-a-day recesses totaling 31 to 45 minutes.

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A version of this article appeared in the April 18, 2012 edition of Education Week as Recess Length

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