Research gives some clues on what libraries can do to improve student achievement

Summer reading


Research on children from low-income families offers new evidence that having access to books can ameliorate the summer learning slide. The three- year study involved 852 randomly selected elemen- tary school students from 17 high-poverty schools, with 478 students from the same schools serving

as a control group. The intervention gave partici- pating students a set of self-selected trade books. The experiment found statistically significant improvement on state reading tests for participants, with the largest effects for the most economically disadvantaged children.

  1. Allington, R.L., McGill-Frazen, A., Camilli, G., Wil- liams, L., Graff, J., Zeig, J., Zmach, C., & Nowak, R. (2010). Addressing summer reading setback among economically disadvantaged elementary students. Reading Psychology, 31(5), 411–417.


Free, voluntary reading programs offered at public libraries seem to improve participants’ reading scores and prevent summer learning slide according to a three-year study of summer reading programs at public libraries in eight states, conducted by Dominican University and the Johns Hopkins University Center .

Annie E. Casey Foundation
Research Update on Third-Grade Reading