professornana (professornana) wrote,

Unprogram, summertime version

Just improving poor children’s access to books they can read and want to read may seem too simple an idea for improving reading achievement. But the evidence is clear. When children from low-income families are given the opportunity to select books for summer reading they will read those books during the summer months. Reading during the summer stems summer reading loss and effectively closes the rich/poor reading achievement gap that has lingered far too long.

Dick Allington from Engage Blog 3-21-13

It is always rewarding when research bears out something we have seen work year after year. In this case, the verification is about the importance of access to books, especially in summer months when schools are closed. For kids who do not have access to books in their homes, providing access in the summer months is crucial. It can prevent the summer slide. Schools can and should partner with public libraries to make sure kids can have access to books. Schools can open up libraries from time to time during the summer and even provide transportation to and from the school so kids can not only access books but perhaps enjoy booktalks, story times, and other book-related events.

If we are making a commitment to narrowing the achievement gap between low and high income kids, making books accessible is essential. I can hear the arguments already about how much this will cost and whether or not kids will take advantage of it. But since many schools offer summer classes for remediation and for test prep, why not expand it just one more notch and include some funds that will place books in the hands of those who need them the most? This is putting our money not only where our mouths are but where our hearts are as well.
Tags: access to books, summer reading
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