The Impact of Differentiated Virtual Book Clubs on Summer Reading Growth for Entering Fourth and Fifth Grade Students



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The summer slide is a challenge facing many educators. National and state reports for accountability illustrate that students from middle to high-socioeconomic backgrounds are not immune to reading difficulties and may be impacted by diminished support. This study aimed to examine the degree to which the provision of summer virtual book clubs impacted beginning-of- the-year reading performance for middle to high-socioeconomic students entering fourth and fifth grade. This randomized pre–post experimental study involved analysis of 39 incoming fourth and fifth graders currently attending a Houston based private day school. The study revealed that providing some summer support and structure as a whole impacted student reading scores as demonstrated by significant growth in Developmental Reading Assessment, Second Edition, (DRA2) scores from spring to summer. There was a marginally significant effect (p = .06) of the virtual book club in comparison to business as usual (BAU) on the DRA2. Of practical note, the majority of students who improved at least one reading level on DRA2 were in the virtual book club in the summer. No differences were found between the two conditions on the Gates MacGinitie Reading Test (GMRT). Finally, there were no significant effects of condition based on student grade level for either measure. The findings support the potential benefit of a low intensive reading intervention for maintenance and growth of reading skills. For some students, this could mean a reduction in the compounding effect of summer learning loss over time, potentially diminishing the number of students requiring more intensive summer intervention in the fifth grade due to failing STAAR scores.



Summer Reading, Reading intervention, Upper Elementary Intervention, Interventions, Reading