Jan 13, 2012


This intervention
is designed to prevent summer reading setback by providing free books to
elementary students for three consecutive summers. One evaluation found that
children who received the free books score higher on reading proficiency
assessments and reported that they read more frequently over the summer than
children in the control group.


Target population:
Elementary-school children

The goal of this
intervention is to prevent summer reading setback for disadvantaged children.
Participants in this intervention attend a book fair at the end of the school
year and select 15 books, 12 of which they receive for free (participants select
more books than they receive in case of a stock shortage). Students spend about
30 minutes at the book fair selecting books, and receive the books on the last
day of school.

The book fair
features books from four categories: pop culture books (related to television,
movies, athletes, musicians, etc.), series books, culturally relevant books (by
minority authors and/or containing minority characters), and curriculum relevant
books (related to state standards for science and social studies).

The intervention
lasts for three years. Each year, the book fair contains mostly new books, but
also some of the most popular books from the year before.


Evaluated population:
The evaluated population included 1,713
children selected from 17 high-poverty elementary schools in Florida. The
children were in first and second grade when the intervention began, and the
majority were between 9 and 11 years of age. Eighty-nine percent of participants
were African American or Hispanic, and five percent were European American.
Depending on the school, 65 to 98.5 percent of enrolled students were eligible
for free or reduced price lunch. The treatment group contained 1,082 students
and the control group contained 631 students.

Students were randomly assigned to the intervention or control group. For three
consecutive years, children in the treatment group received free books and
children in the control group did not. Each year starting in third grade,
student scores on the statewide standardized reading assessment (the Florida
Comprehensive Achievement Test) were collected to measure students’ reading
proficiency. Students were also surveyed yearly on their reading habits.
Attrition was 21.3% for the treatment group and 24.3% for the control group.

Over the course of the intervention, students in the intervention group scored
significantly higher than students in the control group on the statewide reading
assessment (ES=0.14). This impact was stronger among students who were eligible
for free lunch (ES=0.21). In addition, Intervention group students reported
reading more frequently over the summer than control students, and were more
likely to report that they got most of the books they read from school.



Allington, R.L.,
McGill-Franzen, A., Camilli, G., Williams, L., Graff, J., Zmach, C., and Nowak,
R. (2010). Addressing summer reading setback among economically disadvantaged
elementary students. Reading Psychology, 31, 411-427.

Children (3-11), Elementary, Males and Females (Co-Ed), Reading/Literacy, High

information last updated 1/13/12.