Thursday, August 5, 2010

Proof That Kids Benefit from Summer Reading Programs!

Dominican University Library School Releases Study on Impact of Summer Reading Programs

Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) released the results of a three-year national study on the effectiveness of summer reading programs offered by public libraries across the country. The study, conducted in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University Center for Summer Learning, was funded through a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

According to the study results, students who participated in public library summer reading programs scored higher on reading achievement tests at the beginning of the next school year than those students who did not participate. In addition, there were additional benefits for students who participated in the public library summer reading program: they did not experience summer reading loss and began the next school year with more confidence. 

“Public librarians have been under pressure from federal, state, and private funders to prove that tax dollars spent on summer reading programs yield a valuable return on investment,” said Dr. Susan Roman, dean of Dominican University’s GSLIS and the project administrator for the study. “This study definitively shows that summer reading programs play a significant role in preventing summer reading loss and that public libraries provide an important bridge between academic years. Based on the study’s findings, it is also clear that investing more resources in summer reading programs especially in economically depressed areas can contribute to closing the achievement gap that is plaguing our country.”

The Dominican University study provides a rigorous quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the impact of public library summer reading programs on summer reading loss through the examination of students from large and small communities in rural, urban and suburban areas during the summer between third and fourth grade. The study pays particular attention to students from low-income families. 

Students completing third grade and entering fourth grade were specifically selected for the study because this grade appears to be a transitional year from learning to read to reading to learn. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, less than one-third of U.S. fourth graders meet the proficient standard; in fact, over 85 percent of students in high-poverty schools fail to reach the proficient level.

Founded in 1930, Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science is one of the nation’s premier master’s degree-granting programs. The school inaugurated a PhD program in 2009. For more information, please visit the website at or call (708) 524-6845.

Download a PDF file of the complete study at:

Dominican University's  Butler Children's Literature Center, together with Dominican University's School of Library Science and School of Education, are educational partners in the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance and Library of Congress Exquisite Corpse Adventure. Susan Roman, Dean of  Dominican University's School of Library Science, has been an honored educational and library adviser to the NCBLA since its founding.