The startling reality is that children from low-income households do not read because they do not have books in their homes or easy access to books in their communities. For many parents this is difficult to imagine, we buy books for our children, take them to the library to check out books, and read to and with our children regularly. Yet, there are a huge number of children in our communities who don’t have books in their homes at all.
Research has shown that “simply providing children from low-income families with self-selected books for summer reading eliminated summer reading loss and spurred reading gains comparable to those experienced by middle class children.” (Allington, McGill-Franzen Camilli, et al., 2010)
This study indicates that by distributing self-selected books to children for summer reading improved reading achievement as much as attending summer school. By providing the children with books that they want to read every summer the odds drastically improve the likelihood that these children will end the summer reading at grade level. The reports indicate that the younger children benefit the most from the summer book distribution programs. The children are excited to read these books because they have selected them.
Summer reading programs most likely to stop the summer learning loss focus on some key aspects:
- They focus on Kindergarten and First Graders.
- Encourage self- selection of books.
- Engage the children for at least three consecutive summers.
- Distribute 12-15 books per summer for children in Kindergarten through fourth Grade.
Find out more about donating books through United Way's Launch Into Literacy program at www.uwpc.org/launchintoliteracy.