I read with interest the article, “Summer Reading or Bleeding” from the August Issue of School Library Journal. I encourage every librarian and parent to read the full interview (online here) now, and again in April as they prepare for summer. Consider, that according to Richard L. Allington, “More than 80 percent of the rich/poor reading gap accumulates during the summers. But low-income children gain as much reading growth during the school year as middle-class students.” That statistic should motivate every one of us to help all get kids access to books.
Even in schools where most of the students come from middle-class homes, think of the advantage to our students if we were to provide every child “with books they can and want to read.” My children have the benefit of a home filled with books. Further, they have access to books from our public library and from their school libraries, and even better, they have teachers who care about giving them books they want to read. But what of the students who don’t have books “they can and want to read,” especially over the summer? They return to school in the fall needing remediation to catch up to their peers, and that affects all the students. Allington calls on librarians to “get over past-due fines and serving as the protectors of the books,” and instead, to put “as many books in kids’ hands as possible.” Something to think about.