Tara Parker-Pope reports on an interesting new study about children and summer reading, at the New York Times:
Now new research offers a surprisingly simple, and affordable, solution to the summer reading slide. In a three-year study, researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, found that simply giving low-income children access to books at spring fairs — and allowing them to choose books that most interested them — had a significant effect on the summer reading gap.
To read the entire piece, go here. I was tickled at the top choice of book-fair participants, and wowed by the last sentences in the piece, a quote from an expert.
You'll notice that book fairs play a role in the study; the children involved chose free new books there. I have seen at a school where I volunteer that many kids cannot afford to buy books at the book fair, and often can bring only a dollar or so to buy some erasers or bookmarks. This is why organizations like Reading Is Fundamental and First Book are so important; both distribute free new books to kids.