Superintendent Marguerite Rizzi
232 Pearl St.,
Stoughton, MA 02072
For Immediate Release
Monday, March 26, 2018
Contact: Jessica Sacco
Email: [email protected]
Research Confirms Summer Reading Initiative Helps Prevent Loss of Literacy Skills Among Stoughton Elementary School Students
District Partners with Scholastic to Launch Study
STOUGHTON – Superintendent Marguerite Rizzi of Stoughton Public Schools is pleased to announce that through a collaboration with Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, that the district’s summer reading initiative helps to prevent the common loss of literacy skills that often occurs during the summer.
Members of Stoughton Public Schools and the Scholastic Education Research and Validation team gathered this afternoon to release the findings of an 11-month study in five elementary schools, titled Summer Reading Spotlight: Stoughton 2017. It called attention to the overwhelmingly positive effects continued reading throughout the summer has on students in kindergarten through sixth grade.
Summer reading loss is a concern for educators given that limited or unequal access to reading and literacy activities over the summer can lead to a loss of skills that can place students at a disadvantage when they return to school in the fall.
“We have always known the importance summer reading plays on the continued development of students’ skills,” Superintendent Rizzi said. “However, through our work with Scholastic, we have seen not only less regression in children, but a renewed sense of excitement surrounding literature in our advanced and striving readers.”
“The positive findings from the research on Summer Reading Spotlight: Stoughton 2017 add to a powerful collection of results highlighting the value of supporting literacy year-round,” said Dr. Andrea A. Rizzo, Director of Research and Validation, Scholastic Education. “Summer is a critical time of year for students, and Stoughton Public Schools has acknowledged this by collaborating with Scholastic to provide students with opportunities to expand their home libraries with high-quality, high-interest books as well as engaging families in their children’s learning—all of which is critical for fostering a culture of literacy that grows a community of confident, lifelong readers.”
Research from the spring and fall of 2017 focused on the impact of the initiative on students’ and families’ attitudes, beliefs and behaviors, and included an exploratory review of students’ reading levels as measured by standardized test scores provided by the district. In June 2017, students at the Dawe, Gibbons and South Elementary Schools – “summer book” schools – received 10 free, self-selected books and participated in Family Literacy Nights where families could learn strategies to support their children’s reading and students had the opportunity to take home additional books.
“It was cool that you could get 10 free books,” said fourth grade student Victor Thomas from the Dawe School. “A lot of my books at home are from when I was younger, so they aren’t my grade level. The new books gave me something to read over the summer.”
“I read the books when I went on vacation to Martha’s Vineyard since it was a long trip,” said third grade student from the Dawe School Julianna Savill. “My most favorite book was ‘What If I Had Animal Hair?’ My favorite part was the one about the snowy fox. It got me interested in doing some research on the snowy fox.”
Stoughton’s remaining elementary school students — at the Hansen and West Schools — were part of the control group and received access to the same resources – free books and family literacy nights – in the fall.
Key findings from the comparison of students in the “summer book” and control schools includes:
• Fewer “summer book” students who were striving readers experienced summer reading loss than students in the control schools; 21 percent versus 30 percent. In addition, fewer “summer book” students who were advanced readers experienced summer reading loss than students in the control schools; 34 percent versus 43 percent.
• Fewer “summer book” students reported not reading over the summer in comparison with control students; 6 percent versus 14 percent.
• 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 percent in the control schools. This finding is particularly important given the state and federal focus on reading proficiency by third grade.
• Eighty-five percent of families agreed that the books their children received increased their reading over the summer.
As a result of the positive findings from this study, Stoughton Public Schools is exploring opportunities to sustain a self-selection summer reading program in the future.