Scholastic Reports an Increase in School Districts Giving Books to Students for Summer Reading


Research shows that giving kids take-home books prevents summer learning loss


NEW YORK, NY — May 18, 2010 — Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL), the global children’s publishing, education and media company, has reported a continued increase in the number of school districts giving books away to students to take home during summer vacation. In an effort to help their students avoid a summer slide in reading skills this year, schools across the country are giving more than 2 million books purchased from Scholastic to kids to take home before vacation starts. And with more and more school age students living in poverty in recent years, districts have been especially focused on helping children from low-income families who are more likely to lose ground in their reading ability during the summer.

Working with these school districts, Scholastic has created age-appropriate packets of non-fiction and fiction books that school districts are giving free to students to take home before the end of the school year. They are often combined with letters from superintendents or principals and suggestions on reading aloud and book discussions for parents. Some districts are even holding training sessions to coach parents on how to encourage and support reading and literacy at home. Many of these schools purchased the heavily-discounted summer book packs using their federal Title I funds, targeting them for schools with more children from low-income families.

Combating the loss of skills in the summer with books is backed up by the research of Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who have documented that students who receive books to read during the summer showed significantly higher levels of achievement. They have also said that summer learning loss is the primary cause of the gap between the reading skills of students who have access to books at home and those who don’t.

"We're seeing more attention than ever this year to the problem of summer learning loss, and more and more districts that are confronted with a growing population of low-income students who are less likely to have books at home," said Greg Worrell, President of the Scholastic Classroom and Library Group. "Research clearly shows that kids who are given books to read during the summer – especially those children from low-income families – gain in their reading achievement and we're excited to work with districts to help them make this a summer of reading."

Some of the more than 125 school districts distributing books from Scholastic to date include the following:

  • Using Title I dollars, Bibb County, GA, is distributing packets of books containing activities and reading strategies to more than 24,000 students in grades PreK-11 across the county. The school district had 3,000 students, families and community members show up earlier this month for a kickoff event called “Get Jazzed About Reading” that celebrated the importance of reading and literacy.
  • Jefferson County Public Schools, the biggest district in Colorado, is distributing 8-book summer reading packs to every student in the district’s 22 Title I schools, and will be deploying automated phone calls in English and Spanish throughout the summer to remind parents to keep their kids reading.
  • The school district in Irving, TX, is distributing age-appropriate books to every student in grades PreK-7 for summer reading. In a community-wide kick-off to a summer of reading, thousands of students and hundreds teachers, parents and community and school leaders will stop for 10 minutes at precisely 10 a.m. on May 27 to read and display their love of books. The District tied the event to its new "Our House Is Your House" parent involvement campaign.


"In order for students to reach their full potential, they need a strong foundation in reading and writing, and with these packets, our families will have the resources to spend quality time with each other while building their comprehension, vocabulary, and critical thinking skills," says Dr. Romain Dallemand, Superintendent of Schools in Bibb County, GA. "The turnout at our kickoff event is proof this is a community that knows and understands the importance of reading to a child's future."

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Tyler Reed