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Does a Summer Reading Program Based on Lexiles Affect Reading Comprehension?




The 2006–2011 REL Southwest at Edvance conducted a large-scale, multidistrict randomized control trial to examine the effectiveness of a summer reading initiative for economically disadvantaged grade 3 students who scored below the 50th percentile nationally in reading. The program was designed to reduce summer reading loss, a well-documented decline in reading skills that occurs when students are not in school over the summer.

Students in the summer reading program received eight books in the summer before their grade 4 school year. Students and books were matched using the Lexile Framework® for Reading, and students were sent follow-up postcards during the summer to encourage reading. At the start of the next school year, students were tested to determine if the program had an impact on their reading levels.

Key findings include:

  • The summer reading program did not have a statistically significant impact on student reading comprehension.
  • There was a statistically significant effect of the summer reading program on the number of books students reported reading over the summer. On average, students in the treatment group reported reading 1.03 more books over the summer than did students in the control group.
  • There was not a statistically significant differential effect of the program on reading comprehension for students at three different levels of baseline reading proficiency.

The RCT summary for this project is available at

Publication Type:

NCEE/REL Evaluation Report

Online Availability:
Publication Date:
March 2012