PEP’s mission is to collaborate with the community, educators and elected officials to support and strengthen public education and student achievement in Greenville County Schools. MSC, a core initiative in this mission, provides students and families resources and opportunities to encourage reading through the summer. MSC engages students in summer reading by providing students with books during the summer to build their home libraries, and hosting school-based Family Reading Nights at which families learn techniques and strategies to support their children’s reading over the summer.
Greenville County Schools and Scholastic Inc.
Research indicates that during the summer months, elementary school students from low-income backgrounds experience greater reading loss compared to students from middle- and high-income backgrounds (Alexander, Entwisle, & Olson, 2001; Allington & McGill-Franzen, 2003; Cooper, Nye, Charlton, Lindsay & Greathouse, 1996; Kim, 2004). Allington and McGill-Franzen (2013) argue that this disparity in access to summer literacy resources results in “poor children typically lose reading proficiency during the summers and more advantaged children show modest reading growth during the same period” (p.ix). This phenomenon can lead to a two- to three-month gap in reading achievement between students from low- and middle-income families that accumulates to a substantial gap in reading achievement by the time students enter high school (Alexander, Entwisle, & Olson, 2007).
School districts have attempted to address summer reading loss by providing center-based summer school programs, but this approach is costly and difficult to sustain. In the absence of summer school programs, experts theorize that providing access to books over the summer may address summer reading loss in a more cost effective way (Allington, McGill-Franzen, Camilli, Graff, Zeig, Zmach, & Nowak, 2010). Moreover, strengthening the school and home relationship by encouraging parental support of summer reading is a key component to ensuring that children read during the summer, and that they read in ways that build understanding (Kim & White, 2011).
These principles are the foundation of MSC’s goal of providing opportunities for all students to experience rich reading experiences of the summer.
Data on over 8,000 students and over 100 families was analyzed by a third-party vendor to answer our research questions around the impact of Make Summer Count on students and families. Analyses included exploration of prepost student surveys for students in grades 3-5; analyses of MAP reading subtests (goal) and overall scores for students in grades 3 -5; and analyses of book logs for students in grades 1 – 5. Family data was captured from families who attended one of the 25 Family Literacy Nights hosted by GCS and PEP.
Dr. W. Ansel Sanders, firstname.lastname@example.org