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Summer Reading Programs: Research

Summer reading programs began in the 1890s as a way to encourage school children, particularly those in urban areas and not needed for farm work, to read during their summer vacation, use the library and develop the habit of reading.

Research conducted by the National Center for Educational Statistics found that in 1994, 95% of public libraries offered summer reading programs for children; there are not statistics for adult summer programs.

As noted in our press release dated October 14, 2015, New research highlights libraries' expanded roles, findings of the 2014 Digital Inclusion Survey National Report included -- and similarly concluded:

95 percent of libraries offer summer reading programs to forestall the “summer slide” in reading achievement experienced when learning takes a holiday between school terms

The National Summer Learning Association, which offers some pertinent points as well as full text articles and abstracts on its pages, Know the Facts, and Research in Brief, serves as a network hub for thousands of summer learning program providers and stakeholders across the country, providing tools, resources, and expertise to improve program quality, generate support, and increase youth access and participation. Its vision is for every child to be safe, healthy, and engaged in learning during the summer, and its mission, to realize that vision, is to connect and equip schools, providers, communities, and families to deliver high-quality summer learning opportunities to our nation's youth to help close the achievement gap and support healthy development.

Check for the availability of additional research on summer reading programs at your local library.

Research Resources