By the numbers - Reading schemes

Concern about the dip in young children's reading skills after the long summer break has led a number of countries to set up holiday reading schemes.

These encourage children to read during the break from school, which in countries such as the US can last as long as three months. The schemes motivate readers by giving out prizes such as stickers, medals and bookmarks for visiting libraries and reading books.

In the UK, 750,000 children took part in last year's Summer Reading Challenge run by literacy charity the Reading Agency. The project, which began in 1999, challenges children to read six books - one for every week of the holiday. For every two books they read, they get a small prize.

This year, children completing the Creepy House-themed challenge will receive a sticker for every two books they read, with a code that unlocks special animations on the website.

In the US, the Department of Education is promoting the Let's Read! Let's Move! initiative, under which, among other incentives, 15,000 books are being given to students in Washington DC schools.

In the US

A study of 1,300 students from 17 high-poverty schools in Florida found that children who chose 12 free books to read over the summer holidays performed better in subsequent reading tests. Over a three-year period the effect was equivalent to a student moving from the 50th percentile to the 56th percentile of reading achievement.

Source: WWC Quick Review of the Report "Addressing Summer Reading Setback Among Economically Disadvantaged Elementary Students" (2010), US Department of Education. bit.lySummerReadingSetback

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