No matter what type of academic calendar a state or school district adopts, children attend school every year for an average of 180 days. During that time, educators, librarians and parents work hard to ensure that young people develop the reading skills necessary for success in school and in life. Then summer break comes, children leave the formal learning environment of the classroom and, instead of progressing, many begin to slip in their reading abilities.
This issue of summer loss is not a new one. Without the structure of school, strong readers can flatline and struggling readers can fall off the chart. Low-income children are especially susceptible because they often go home to text-free environments. By the end of fifth grade, these kids are approximately 2 1/2 years behind their more affluent peers in terms of reading ability, primarily because of summer loss. For more information on the negative effects of summer loss, please read our white paper.
What can you do?
Your community may already have a summer reading program, but it may not be particularly effective at combatting summer loss. Below are some ideas and other useful information and resources to help you leverage Lexile measures to develop an effective, low- or no-cost summer reading program that really helps children grow as readers.
- Build a Lexile-based summer reading program
- Make better reading lists with Lexile measures
- Help young readers choose books in their Lexile range
- Add more appeal to your summer reading program
- Get parents involved
- Summer reading programs with Lexile measures
- What does summer loss look like?
Connecting kids with books
One reason that children do not read enough over the summer is the challenge of finding books at their reading level that really interest them. Young people have to want to read a book and they have to be able to read it. Through more than a decade of research, Harvard University professor Dr. James Kim found that children's reading abilities can actually grow over the summer when they read high-interest books in their Lexile range. Click here to read this research.
"Find a Book" actualizes Dr. Kim's research in a fun, easy-to-use interface for educators, parents and children. With "Find a Book," you can build targeted reading lists for a grade, classroom or an individual, or conduct leveled summer reading bookfairs so that children can choose their own books. Young people are most likely to start reading a book if they choose it themselves, and they are more likely to finish the book if it is both interesting and at their reading level. Click here to download a "Find a Book" flyer that you can share with educators, librarians and parents.
Learn more about some Lexile-based summer reading programs around the country. For more information on using Lexile measures and "Find a Book" in your summer reading program—and how MetaMetrics can help—contact us for more information.
Fairchild, R. McLaughlin, B. & Brady, J. (2006). Making the Most of Summer: A Handbook on Effective Summer Programming and Thematic Learning . Baltimore, MD: Center for Summer Learning.
Cooper, H., Nye, B., Charlton, K., Lindsay, J., & Greathouse, S. (1996). The effects of summer vacation on achievement test scores: A narrative and meta-analytic review . REVIEW OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, 66(3), 227-268. EJ 596 384.
Also see the summer reading program references at AdLit.org.