WWC review of this study

Replicating the Effects of a Teacher-Scaffolded Voluntary Summer Reading Program: The Role of Poverty

White, Thomas G.; Kim, James S.; Kingston, Helen Chen; Foster, Lisa (2014). Reading Research Quarterly, v49 n1 p5-30. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1027284

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grade

Reviewed: April 2022

No statistically significant positive
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Reading Comprehension outcomes—Indeterminate effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Iowa Test of Basic Skills- Reading Comprehension Subtest

READS (Reading Enhances Achievement During Summer) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

READS (teacher lessons and summer books) and Comparison Group;
791 students





Iowa Test of Basic Skills- Reading Comprehension Subtest

READS (Reading Enhances Achievement During Summer) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

READS (teacher lessons and summer books) plus teacher phone calls and Comparison Group;
793 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • 29% English language learners

  • Urban
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    North Carolina
  • Race
    Other or unknown
  • Ethnicity
    Not Hispanic or Latino    


This study was conducted with third grade students from 19 elementary schools in a midsized urban school district in North Carolina.

Study sample

The students in the sample were 51 percent Black and 30 percent Hispanic. Almost three fourths (72%) were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Between one fourth and one third (29%) were identified as having limited English proficiency. Baseline reading comprehension was below the national norm.

Intervention Group

The intervention examined in this study is READS (Reading Enhances Achievement During Summer), a voluntary summer reading program. In this intervention, books that are matched to students' reading levels and interests are provided to students over the summer. Teachers implemented scaffolding lessons at the end of the school year just prior to the summer. Half of the schools were randomly assigned to implement fluency practice and a multiple-strategy routine in their scaffolding lessons. In the multiple-strategy routine, teachers instructed students to use multiple comprehension strategies (making connections, predicting, asking questions, rereading) with both narrative and informational texts. The other half of the schools implemented a content-based prediction routine but no fluency practice. For narrative texts, the content-based prediction routine was based on a story impression activity using keywords to help students make a story guess before reading. During reading, the teacher asked literal and inferential text-based questions. After reading, the students compared their story guesses with the actual story. For informational texts, the content-based prediction routine was based on a K–W–L activity (i.e., the teacher asks students what they Know about a topic, what they Want to know, and what they Learned). There were no statistically significant differences between these groups so they were combined for the remaining analyses. All intervention students received one book each week of the summer over a 10-week period. Two of the books were lesson books and eight were matched books. Postcards were also sent to prompt the students to use the multiple comprehension strategies or content-based predictions. Parents were encouraged to support their students' reading during the summer; materials were sent to students and parents throughout the summer break. Students assigned to the enhanced intervention condition received the same basic intervention described above with the addition of up to three telephone calls from the teacher during the summer, where the student was prompted to provide an oral recall of a summer book.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison condition received business-as-usual instruction and summer reading activities. Comparison group teachers participated in a professional development seminar on classroom management. At the end of the session, they were instructed to conduct business as-usual reading lessons on the days when the treatment teachers were conducting multiple-strategy or content-based comprehension lessons. Students in the comparison condition did not receive matched books during the summer.

Support for implementation

Teachers attended a 2-hour training session led by veteran teachers, according to the type of lessons they were to implement (multiple strategy or content-based prediction), and they received a lesson plan for each of the six lessons and materials. In the spring prior to the summer intervention, students completed a reading preference survey to indicate their interest in reading books from 18 categories (e.g., adventure, biography, historical fiction, science, sports). A computer algorithm was used to match books to each student based on the student’s interests and reading level.


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