Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EDD)
College of Education
Richard D. Jones
Each year school leaders across the nation are faced with the challenge of how to sustain and/or accelerate students’ progression of reading development during the summer months. Research indicates that the reading achievement of children who have little to no access to books generally declines during the summer months, while the reading achievement of children who have access to books typically remains constant or improves. It is well established that high quality, engaging, summer learning programs can prevent summer learning loss and even boost student achievement.
An extensive review of the literature resulted in a critical analysis of what summer reading loss is, the long-term implications, and combating its effects. The research on the topic of summer reading loss points to a variety of factors that contribute to this phenomenon and can accelerate the digression over time. For example, summer reading loss has the greatest impact on children in poverty, and the loss is cumulative. Children who are not proficient by third grade are four times more likely not to graduate from high school. There is also a great disparity in the number of books in low-income areas including homes, classrooms, school libraries, and public libraries. Finally, traditional six-week, five hours per day summer school programs are not decreasing the effects of summer reading loss.
In addition to revealing the factors related to summer reading loss and the characteristics of programs failing to resolve it, the research identifies five key elements that can, alternatively, prevent reading loss. These are: early planning, access to books, self-selected (high interest) books, just right books, and engaging activities. In order to address this critical issue, a guide was developed to help school leaders plan, execute, monitor, and evaluate the impact of their program that includes the five key factors for its success. A panel of literacy leaders was assembled to garner feedback and test the validity of the guide. The final product is comprehensive in nature and includes research-based strategies and practical applications for implementing a successful summer reading program.
Battles, D., Morem, K., Riopelle, L., & Tedesco, C. (2017). Dissertation in Practice: Summer Reading Loss [Doctoral dissertation, Lynn University]. SPIRAL. https://spiral.lynn.edu/etds/3