By Joel Gross, BookSpringEd Director Photos by Tyler Schmitt / The Mill Photography
BookSpring is excited to announce the launch of Summer Success, a new full-scale program designed to address the widespread drop in reading skills that occurs in economically disadvantaged elementary students over the summer.
Research has shown that over 80 percent of students from economically disadvantaged communities lose reading skills over the summer. BookSpring began assessing ways to address this concerning trend over two years ago by piloting Reading is Fundamental’s (RIF) Read For Success program in multiple Title I Austin Independent School District (AISD) elementary schools.
The pilot program consisted of various components to help prevent summer reading loss including eight STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) themed books for every student, teachers lesson plans and books, and parent engagement materials.
Through a formal data-sharing agreement with AISD, BookSpring collected and evaluated program data composed of student IStation reading scores before and after the summer break (at the end of the second grade and at the beginning of the third grade). Analysis of the data for each program year revealed that over 66 percent of students participating in the program made reading gains over the summer– a near complete reversal of recorded benchmark.
During the second year of the pilot, BookSpring was able to go deeper with their analysis and evaluate the reading data against a control group of AISD students that shared similar characteristics. This program data showed extremely promising results including a 38 percent higher average score than the control group.
Summer Success builds on the Read for Success pilot by expanding the number of student books, better aligning teacher lesson plans with state standards, and increasing the focus on English-learning students. Additionally, the STEAM theme and book selection has been broadened to include a career and jobs focus that encourages students to explore the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“BookSpring is dedicated to raising literacy rates and building a community of lifelong readers,” said Emily Ball Cicchini, BookSpring Executive Director. “Summer Success reaches students at a critical age and time for reading, and by increasing the opportunities that students have to read over the summer, we can help both drive academic achievement and personal fulfillment in the community.”
The Summer Success program was recently awarded a grant to expand to additional elementary schools within AISD and the central Texas community. The program is designed for 1st and 2nd grade students, and BookSpring is currently accepting applications for spring 2018 and has plans to increase the number of partner schools over the coming years.