The summer reading setback

Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen explain how tackling this issue can help close the reading achievement gap

THERE IS AN ENORMOUS READING achievement gap between children from low- and middle-income families in the US. The gap at the end of eighth grade (age 14) is about three years. Schools have taken action to try to close this gap, but these efforts have had little success over the past two decades. We suggest that this lack of success is probably due to the fact that few schools have implemented any actions to address a major contributor to the reading achievement gap – summer reading setback.

What we know
● Strong evidence links access to books and voluntary reading activity.
● Strong evidence indicates children from low-income families have restricted access to books.
● Strong evidence exists that simply supplying books to children from low-income families can reduce summer reading setback.

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May 2013