A federal study has found no learning gains from a summer reading program that provided books to students, but little else.
The report, by the Institute of Education Sciences, explores whether fall reading-comprehension scores could be improved through a summer reading initiative for economically disadvantaged children with below-average reading skills. The randomized, controlled study involved 1,571 students in 112 schools during the summer between 3rd and 4th grades. Students received eight books appropriate to their reading levels and their interests.
Unlike some other summer reading efforts, though, this one offered no interventions beyond six postcard reminders throughout the summer. The aim was to learn if the program could close reading gaps without additional strain on parent and teacher resources.
The lack of improvement in the fall led the authors to suggest that other factors, such as personalized teacher encouragement, may be key to summer book programs.
A version of this article appeared in the April 04, 2012 edition of Education Week as Summer Reading