Summer Slide Pilot Program


The Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) is working with Boise State University Literacy Professor Dr. Roger Stewart to research whether opening school libraries over the summer, along with using a “Book Fair” model of providing free books toward the end of the school year, can maintain or increase children’s literacy skills over the summer months.

Project Overview
Idaho’s 2014 Summer Slide Pilot Project launched in June, with three schools receiving $1,500 to cover the cost of staff to keep their doors open for the season. An additional three library programs will receive new paperback books in return for staying open. Bailey-White hopes to learn from the way all six pilot programs perform and to assess what strategies are most successful in attracting young students to pick up a book once school’s out.

The initiatives, financed with grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), are aimed at students in kindergarten through second grade—an age where decrease in reading skills and aptitude can have an effect on a student’s later success. Summer slide is one area educators have long battled against, with studies showing that low-income students in particular can lose two months of reading proficiency during summer vacation. Having kids continue to read during these months may be able to combat this loss, particularly in literacy skills.
School Sites
The three schools using both the open school library and the “Book Fair” model (Cohort A) are:

  • Coeur d’Alene School District #271: Fernan Elementary, Coeur d’Alene
  • Jerome Joint School District #261: Horizon Elementary, Jerome
  • Meridian Joint School District #2: Desert Sage Elementary, Meridian
At these three sites, ICfL Read to Me staff will work with a local team to develop and implement a spring “Book Fair,” modeled after that outlined in Summer Reading: Closing the Rich/Poor Reading Achievement Gap, edited by Richard L. Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen. The Commission will provide enough books that each kindergarten, first, and second grade student will be able to select at least six books to take home during the last month of school. Students and their family members will be encouraged to read and return the books, and students in the program will be able to keep at least two books. All remaining books will become the property of the participating school to use to support the program.

The two schools using only the open school library approach (Cohort B) are:
  • Caldwell School District #132: Wilson Elementary, Caldwell
  • Cassia School District #151: Mountain View Elementary, Burley
The program requires that the school library be open at least two days per week (a minimum of four hours per day) for a minimum of nine weeks during the summer months to allow students to exchange or check out books.
    The pilot program has three primary goals:
    1) Increase the amount of reading done over the summer.
    2) Increase the number of children reading on grade level, particularly in K – 2nd grades.
    3) Build the capacity of school and public libraries to better serve children and families in their service area.
Participating School Documents & Resources
Pilot Timeline
    December 2013 - Application Opens Sample Application
    January 30, 2014 - Application Deadline
    February 14, 2014 - Announce Libraries Chosen for Pilot
    March 10, 2014 - Introductory Webinar PPT - pdf version
    April 2014 - On-site meetings scheduled with all schools; Books shipped to all sites
    April 18, 2014 - Memorandums of Understanding due to ICfL
  • MOU for Cohort A
  • MOU for Cohort B
  • April 30, 2014 - Disbursements and signed MOUs to all Libraries
    May 2014 - Schools co-host Summer Reading Family event with local public library and promotional efforts begin.
    June 2014 - Programs implemented at all sites August 2014 - Program surveys completed and collected September 15, 2014 - Narrative and Financial Reports due from all sites; Reading Logs collected

Program Evaluation Report 2014 Submitted by Dr. Roger Stewart, February 2015
Program Evaluation Report 2015Submitted by Dr. Roger Stewart, February 2016

Working with Dr. Roger Stewart, a literacy professor at Boise State University, ICfL hopes to confirm whether free books can stabilize—or even boost—a student’s literacy skills over the summer, as other research has suggested. IRI scores from all schools will be compared for Spring 2014 and Fall 2014 to determine whether the program has had an impact. Please visit the site in the fall to see the report.
Parent Surveys were sent out in May of 2014 to gather preliminary data on library usage, attitudes, and reading behaviors.
  • English Version
  • Spanish Version

  • Focus Groups were held in May at Wilson Elementary, Mountain View Elementary, and Horizon Elementary in order to get more detailed feedback from Hispanic families on library usage. Sam Byrd, Director of the Centro de Comunidad y Justica, led the discussions.
  • Invitation - English Version
  • Invitation - Spanish Version

  • Comments and information gathered from the focus groups can be found here.
    Summer Learning Resources
    Press and Publicity

    Funded in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.