The next summer reading program is now nine months away, but parents might want to plan ahead! A new University of Utah/Utah Education Policy Center study suggests participation in Salt Lake County Library’s Summer Reading can significantly increase young students’ basic early literacy scores.
The study, designed to measure summer slide, a phenomenon in which student achievement tends to be lower after summer than at the end of the previous school year, matched parents’ survey responses with end-of-the-year and beginning-of-the-year student Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills test scores. Those who participated in The County Library’s Summer Reading showed an increase in scores from one school year to the next, while those who did not participate showed a slight, but not significant, decrease.
“Summer Reading was designed to promote a love of reading and learning for all ages, and help mitigate potential reading and learning loss during the summer,” said Kent Dean, Salt Lake County Library Associate Director of Outreach and Programming. “We’re excited the data collected has shown the program is meeting its goals.”
According to the study, 85 percent of parents whose children participated indicated their children were more confident readers, 93 percent reported their children had maintained or increased their reading skills, 82 percent said that their children read more often, and 86 percent suggested their children used public libraries more often.
Furthermore, almost half of respondents indicated their children were participating in Summer Reading for seven to eight weeks, suggesting nearly 50 percent of the students who participated in Summer Reading spent at least two months of their three-month summer break reading. Increased participation in the program also correlated with a reported increase in reading skills, according to parents.
“It’s so rewarding for our dedicated library staff to serve our community by helping children reach their vast potential,” said Dean. “We hope to facilitate a lifelong practice of reading and learning that fosters individual academic, career, and life enrichment, and achievement.”
The County Library’s Summer Reading and other summer library programs are some of the most popular educational programs available to young students, and the study suggests that The County Library plays an important role in filling the summer educational needs of our community. Summer Reading helps students continue to read and learn over the summer, according the study. At last measurement, more than 36,000 children participated in Summer Reading.