New Research from Scholastic Confirms Positive Impact of Supporting Summer Reading for Elementary Students

Contact: Stephanie Agresti, 212-343-7819, sagresti@scholastic.com

Scholastic Partnered with Communities in South Carolina and Massachusetts to Support Year-Round Literacy and Study the Benefits for Students and Their Families


New York, NY – March 28, 2018 – Today, Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, released the results of two local research studies confirming the benefits of providing K–6 students and their families with increased access to books and learning opportunities over the summer. Nearly 20,000 students across Greenville, SC and Stoughton, MA received free books to build their home libraries and their families were engaged in learning through locally-hosted family literacy events. Results included increased volume of reading and confidence among students, overwhelmingly positive sentiments from families, and fewer students experiencing a loss of skills while school was out.

To view the data and to learn more about both research studies, visit: http://edublog.scholastic.com.

Conducted by the Scholastic Education Research & Validation team, the studies were designed to determine the impact of providing students and their families with the resources they need to be able to read all summer long in an effort to prevent summer reading loss, which is regularly cited as being responsible for as much as 85% of the reading achievement gap between lower- and higher-income children.

Make Summer Count 2017 in South Carolina
The nonprofit Public Education Partners and Greenville County Schools supported summer learning through the award-winning Make Summer Count (MSC) initiative serving local families. Over 18,000 participating K–5 students across 29 higher-needs elementary schools received 10 free, self-selected books to build their home libraries, and had the opportunity to participate in one of 27 Family Reading Night events.

Scholastic engaged in a second year of research, and findings from 2017 revealed a consistency with the findings from 2016, highlighting positive trends in family engagement as well as positive student attitudes, beliefs and behaviors about reading. These consistent findings confirm Make Summer Count as a sustainable model for engaging students and families in summer reading activities. Key findings from the research include:

  • Over two consecutive summers, MSC students reported reading more than 14 books, compared to the national average of 12 books—a statistic reported in the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report™: 6th Edition.
  • For the second year, more than 75% of students agreed they were better readers in the fall because of the reading they did over the summer: 83% in 2016; 79% in 2017.
  • Across 2016 and 2017, more than 96% of families agreed that the books their children received from MSC contributed to them reading more over the summer, and more than 95% agreed that Family Reading Nights were valuable in learning how to support their children’s reading.

Summer Reading Spotlight: Stoughton 2017 in Massachusetts
Scholastic and Stoughton Public Schools partnered to provide students in grades K–6 across five elementary schools with books and learning opportunities, modeled after Make Summer Count. Schools were assigned to “summer book” and “control” groups. The “summer book” schools received resources before the start of summer, and the “control” schools received the same resources in the fall. In total, about 1,700 students self-selected books and had the opportunity to participate in one of five Family Literacy Night events.

Similar to Make Summer Count, the research focused on students’ and families’ attitudes, beliefs and behaviors, but also included an exploratory review of students’ literacy levels as measured by standardized test scores provided by the district. Key findings revealed that:

  • Fewer “summer book” students who were striving readers experienced summer reading loss than students in the “control” schools: 21% vs. 30%. In addition, fewer “summer book” students who were advanced readers experienced summer reading loss than students in the “control” schools: 34% vs. 43%.
  • Fewer “summer book” students reported not reading over the summer (6%) in comparison with 14% of “control” students.
  • Eighty-seven percent of “summer book” students in 3rd grade agreed they were better readers now because of the reading they did over the summer, compared to 77% in the “control” schools. This is a particularly important finding since research shows that 3rd-grade reading levels are a key indicator of future academic success.
  • Eighty-five percent of families agreed that the books their children received increased their reading over the summer, and 94% of families that attended Family Literacy Nights agreed that they were a good way to connect families and schools.

“When families, schools and communities come together to encourage year-round literacy, the benefits are unquestionably powerful,” says Michael Haggen, Chief Academic Officer, Scholastic Education. “Public Education Partners, Greenville County Schools and Stoughton Public Schools are model examples for districts throughout the country looking to engage communities, and support learning and literacy for students even when school is out of session. Access to authentic, high-quality books that inspire a child to want to read as well as opportunities to engage families in learning have been made possible through these initiatives, and the research proves that this thoughtful, comprehensive approach does combat summer learning loss and brings positive results.”

Make Summer Count 2017 Methodology, In Brief:
The findings reported for Public Education Partners' Make Summer Count initiative are based on approximately 18,000 K–5 students in Greenville County Schools. All data is from spring to fall 2017 and should be contextualized in the sense that there was not a comparison group of students; rather, this is an analysis of the unique results of all students participating in Make Summer Count. This research does not account for additional summer learning or enrichment opportunities that may have been sought out and participated in during the initiative.

Summer Reading Spotlight: Stoughton 2017 Methodology, In Brief:
The findings reported for Stoughton Public Schools' Summer Reading Spotlight: Stoughton 2017 initiative are based on approximately 1,700 K–6 students in Stoughton Public Schools. All data is from summer to fall 2017. The findings are preliminary and should be interpreted with the understanding that “summer book” and “control” students’ literacy scores were equally distributed from well below average to well above average, so changes over the summer may be attributed to effects of the Summer Reading Spotlight: Stoughton 2017 initiative. This research does account for additional summer learning or enrichment opportunities that may have been sought out and participated in by some of these students and families, but no differences were found.

Additional information about Scholastic is available on the Company's media room: http://mediaroom.scholastic.com.

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