Teachers College Press

Summer Reading
Closing the Rich/Poor Reading Achievement Gap

Richard L. Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen, Editors
Foreword by Gerald G. Duffy
Language & Literacy
Pub Date: December 2012, 144 pages

Paperback: $29.95, ISBN: 0807753742
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Copublished with the International Reading Association (IRA)

“Summer Reading shows us how to make voluntary reading programs work, especially for low-achievers. This could be the foundation of a reform movement that stands a chance of closing the achievement gap between rich and poor that haunts American schools.”
P. David Pearson, University of California, Berkeley

“Few interventions hold such promise for narrowing the growing reading achievement gap between low- and high-socioeconomic-status students. This book draws attention to this worthy topic and offers ways to channel that attention into concrete policies and practices. As a scholar focused on issues of equity in literacy education, I will definitely have a copy of this book on my shelf.”
Nell K. Duke, University of Michigan

“The solution to the problem of the achievement gap in literacy development is right here: Simple, obvious, and supported by massive evidence.”
Stephen Krashen, professor emeritus, The University of Southern California

“Give a copy of this book to every parent, teacher, school administrator, and policymaker you can find and urge them to read it.”
Peter Johnston, The University at Albany, State University of New York

Summer reading loss accounts for roughly 80% of the rich/poor reading achievement gap. Yet far too little attention is given to this pressing problem. This timely volume now offers not only a comprehensive review of what is known about summer reading loss but also provides reliable interventions and guidance.

Written by acknowledged experts and researchers on reading, remedial reading, and special education, this collection describes multiple models of innovative summer reading and book distribution initiatives. It also provides research-based guidelines for planning a successful summer reading program, including tips on book selection, distribution methods, and direction for crucial follow-up. Most important, the authors clearly show how schools and communities can see greater academic gains for students from low-income families using the methods described in this book than from much more costly interventions.


1. Summer Reading Loss
2. Interventions That Increase Children’s Access to Print Material and Improve Their Reading Proficiencies
3. What Have We Learned About Addressing Summer Reading Loss?
4. The Importance of Book Selections: Enticing Struggling Readers to Say, “I Want to Read That One!”
5. Taking to the Streets! One Principal’s Path to Stemming Summer Reading Loss for Primary Grade Students from Low-Income Communities
6. Making Summer Reading Personal and Local: One District’s Response
7. Where Do We Go from Here?
Appendix A. Evidence Summary for Annual Book Fairs in High-Poverty Elementary Schools

Contributors: Richard L Allington, Lynn Bigelman, James J. Lindsay, Anne McGill-Franzen, Geraldine Melosh, Lunetta Williams

Richard L. Allington is a professor of literacy studies at the University of Tennessee and past president of the National Reading Conference and the International Reading Association. His books include No Quick Fix, The RTI Edition. Anne McGill-Franzen is professor and director of the Reading Center at the University of Tennessee. Both authors are recipients of the International Reading Association Albert J. Harris Award for research on reading and learning disabilities.

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