Annual book fairs to provide summer reading to students in high-poverty elementary schools over three years, starting at the end of first or second grade.
The Annual Book Fairs program provides students in high-poverty elementary schools with books to read over the summer for three consecutive summers starting at the end of first or second grade. The goal is to prevent summer learning loss – specifically, the well-established tendency for low-income children’s reading achievement to fall relative to their more advantaged peers during the summer break. A number of studies have found that the loss is sizable, and may help explain the substantial and persistent reading achievement gap between more and less economically-advantaged students in the United States [e.g., Cooper et. al, 1996, Alexander et. al, 2007].
In the spring of each school year, students attend the fair, located in their school building, where they can order from among 400-600 books in a variety of genres (e.g., pop culture, series books, science). At each fair, students pick 12 books to keep as their own, which are delivered to them on the final day of school.
The study does not report the exact cost of the program, but indicates it was low – the main cost being that of supplying the students with 12 free books per year (which suggests a total three-year cost of $190-$244 per student in 2017 dollars).