Sent to the Seattle Times, Jan 31, 2014
There is a much cheaper and much more effective way to deal with summer learning loss than adding 20 days of school to the school year ("How to solve summer learning loss and close the opportunity gap," January 30): Provide more access to interesting reading material.
Research tells us that those living in poverty have the least access to books and also show the most summer loss, and that those who read more over the summer make better gains in reading achievement.
Let's invest in libraries filled with books and other kinds of material that students will read, as well as librarians who will help children find what is right for them. We are living in a golden age of literature for young people; let's take advantage of it.
Poverty and access to books: Neuman, S. and Celino, D. 2001. Access to print in low-income and middle-income communities. Reading Research Quarterly 36(1): 8-26.
Summer loss and poverty, more reading and gains:
Allington, R. and McGill-Franzen, Anne. 2012. Summer Reading: Closing the Rich/Poor Reading Achievement Gap. New York: Teachers College Press.
Heyns, Barbara. 1975. Summer Learning and the Effect of School. New York: Academic Press.
Kim, Jimmy. 2003. Summer reading and the ethnic achievement gap, Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk 9, no. 2:169-188.
Shin, Fay. and Krashen, Stephen. 2007. Summer Reading: Program and Evidence. New York: Allyn and Bacon.