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The Impact of Summer Reading

May 14, 2015 ET

May 14, 2015

By Michele Farrell
Senior Library Program Officer, IMLS

Every year, public libraries around the country offer summer reading programs. We know from anecdotal information that participants love them, but what is the real impact of these programs? The Library of Virginia is conducting a 33-month study to understand how children and teens use reading programs.  The library will examine how the programs influence reading skills, how they may have different impacts on various participants, and the long-term impact on reading outcomes. The study is being done to assist Virginia public libraries with understanding the impact of their programs. There will be three reports. The first report, Impact of Virginia Public Libraries’ Summer Reading Program: Library of Virginia Year 1 Report (Good, Ho, & Fryman, 2014), covered how children participated, how many books they read, the reading levels of the books read, and whether participants were reading at or above their age level. The second report will examine the effects on reading outcomes, how those outcomes compare to nonparticipants, to what extent participation shows a gain or loss in reading ability compared to nonparticipants, and how the effects differ for readers by grade, gender, economic status, and English proficiency. The Library of Virginia is hosting a webinar on the second report. See details below to listen in. The final report is scheduled for release in December 2015 and will cover what reading skills improved, whether the impact lasts more than one year, how many children participate for more than a year and their characteristics, and lastly, how reading outcomes differ between nonparticipants and those who participated for only one summer. The reports will be available on the Library of Virginia website. Caution should be used regarding any generalization of these results holding true for all summer reading programs. For questions regarding the study and the webinars, please contact: Enid Costley Children's and Youth Services Consultant Library of Virginia 800 East Broad Street Richmond, VA 23219 804.692.3765 McREL has been conducting the study and we invite you to hear the findings. The findings will be shared via webinar on May 19 at 11:00 a.m. EST and again on May 20 at 2:00 p.m. You may register to attend one of the webinars. After you complete the registration, you will be given access information. May 19 at 11:00 a.m. EST register at: May 20 at 2:00 p.m. EST register at:

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