Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Summer reading is key to maintaining or improving students' reading skills

Date:
July 22, 2010
Source:
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Summary:
Researchers have completed a three-year study showing a significantly higher level of reading achievement in students who received books for summer reading at home.

To children, the summer slide means water, garden hoses and slippery plastic sheets. To teachers, the "summer slide" is the noted decrease in reading skills after a vacation without books.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, faculty members Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen have completed a three-year study showing a significantly higher level of reading achievement in students who received books for summer reading at home. Allington and McGill-Franzen are both professors of education; McGill-Franzen is also director of the Reading Center in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.

Allington compares the slide in reading ability to an athlete's fitness. "Just like hockey players lose some of their skills if they stay off their skates and off the ice for three months, children who do not read in the summer lose two to three months of reading development," Allington said.

According to the professors' research, the summer reading setback is the primary reason for the reading achievement gap between children who have access to reading materials at home and those who do not. Students who do not have books at home miss out on opportunities to read. Those missed opportunities can really add up.

"What we know is that children who do not read in the summer lose two to three months of reading development while kids who do read tend to gain a month of reading proficiency," Allington said. "This creates a three to four month gap every year. Every two or three years the kids who don't read in the summer fall a year behind the kids who do."

In designing their study, Allington and McGill-Franzen set up three important differences from previous studies on the summer slide. First, while other experiments lasted one year, their study ran three years from 2001 to 2004. McGill-Franzen said their study was designed to cover three summers because previous researchers had demonstrated that a single summer school session did not boost achievement.

Second, earlier studies had given the students pre-determined books, but in the Allington and McGill-Franzen study, students chose their books. Pop-culture books were the favorites, featuring musicians, athletes and television and movie characters.

"Research has demonstrated that choice makes a very important contribution to achievement," said McGill-Franzen.

The third difference was the grade levels. McGill-Franzen and Allington targeted younger students, who were in first and second grades at the beginning of the study. Previous studies were done on students completing third through sixth grades. The researchers randomly selected 852 children to receive books and 478 students to be in the control group.

The researchers' study found that summer reading is just as effective, if not more so, as summer school. McGill-Franzen and Allington compared their outcomes with studies on the impacts and costs of summer school attendance and found the summer reading program effect equal or even greater.

"We found our intervention was less expensive and less extensive than either providing summer school or engaging in comprehensive school reform," Allington said. "The effect was equal to the effect of summer school. Spending roughly $40 to $50 a year on free books for each child began to alleviate the achievement gap that occurs in the summer."

To get books into the hands of all children for summer reading, Allington and McGill-Franzen suggest keeping school libraries open during the summer break, sending books home with the students; and building on children's prior knowledge by providing books on pop culture and local animals and habitats.

The researchers' study will be published in the fall issue of Reading Psychology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Tennessee at Knoxville. "Summer reading is key to maintaining or improving students' reading skills." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100721112234.htm>.
University of Tennessee at Knoxville. (2010, July 22). Summer reading is key to maintaining or improving students' reading skills. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100721112234.htm
University of Tennessee at Knoxville. "Summer reading is key to maintaining or improving students' reading skills." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100721112234.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins