Summer Reading Programs Survey

The DE issued a press release, for the Iowa Reading Research Center commissioned survey of Iowa summer reading programs, entitled Survey shows need for funding for summer reading programs.

Just kidding. Despite survey findings that funding is the primary barrier for the majority of school districts not yet offering summer reading programs and the current school funding debates, the DE instead chose to emphasize a need for statewide standards or control with this title: Survey shows need for consistency in summer reading programs.

The sixty-nine page report has quite a lot of information in it (though it is light on recommendations), but I think it is unfortunate the public library summer reading programs have been lumped together with summer school programs and other reading skills oriented community programs in this survey. Perhaps it adds to the inconsistency among programs surveyed: public library reading programs are focused on supporting a love of reading rather than teaching or maintaining academic skills, are less likely to offer formal assessment of reading skills, are unlikely to set academic goals, are unlikely to require attendance, and are not staffed with licensed teachers. But I hope it isn’t a sign that the DE and/or the IRRC are going to develop standards for public library summer reading programs. Encouraging kids to find reading for pleasure a worthwhile activity is a valuable endeavor and librarians, though not licensed teachers, are trained professionals well suited to helping kids find books they will like–or even love–reading.