Reading & Literacy

Study Finds That Book Giveaways Stem ‘Summer Slide’

By Debra Viadero — June 01, 2010 1 min read
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USA Today‘s Greg Toppo rounds up some recent and forthcoming studies on summer reading for an article over the weekend on whether giving books to kids can help lessen ‘summer slide.’ Summer slide, as most of you undoubtedly know, is the learning loss that occurs over the long, lazy summer break. The especially tricky thing about summer learning loss is that it tends to disproportionately affect low-income students whose families lack the money to send them to summer camp, buy them books, or take them on outings and vacations.

In his article, Toppo shares findings from a soon-to-be-published study by Richard Allington that tracked what happened when educators in 17 high-poverty elementary schools in Florida gave selected students 12 books on the last day of school every year for three years. The selections were drawn from wish lists that students put together. Three years later, the researchers found, the 852 students who received books had “significantly higher” reading scores, experienced less of a summer slide, and read more on their own than the 478 students who didn’t get books. The full study is scheduled to be published later this year in Reading Psychology.

“Can a $50 stack of paperback books do as much for a child’s academic fortunes as a $3,000 stint in summer school?” Toppo writes. He may be on to something.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.