Can a $50 stack of paperback books do as much for a child's academic fortunes as a $3,000 stint in summer school?
An experimental program in seven states may help answer that question this summer as districts from Nevadato South Carolina give thousands of low-income students an armful of free books.
Research has shown that simply giving children books may be as effective as summer school — and a lot cheaper. The big question is whether the effect can be replicated on a larger scale and help reduce the USA's nagging achievement gap between low-income and middle-class students.. . .