Impact of the Reading Buddies Program on Reading Level and Attitude Towards Reading

Hayley Dolman, Serena Boyte-Hawryluk

Abstract


Objective – This research examines the Reading Buddies program at the Grande Prairie Public Library, which took place in July and August of 2011 and 2012. The Reading Buddies program pairs lower elementary students with teen volunteers for reading practice over the summer. The aim of the study was to discover how much impact the program would have on participating children’s reading levels and attitudes towards reading.

Methods – During the first and last sessions of the Reading Buddies program, the participants completed the Elementary Reading Attitudes Survey (ERAS) and the Graded Word Recognition Lists from the Bader Reading and Language Inventory (6th ed., 2008). Participants were also asked for their grade and sex, and the program coordinator kept track of attendance.

Results – There were 37 Reading Buddies participants who completed both the pre- and post-tests for the study. On average, the program had a small positive effect on participants’ reading levels and a small negative effect on their attitudes towards reading. There was a larger range of changes to the ERAS scores than to the reading test scores, but most participants’ scores did not change dramatically on either measure.

Conclusions – Although findings are limited by the small size of the data-set, results indicate that many of the Reading Buddies participants maintained their reading level over the summer and had a similar attitude towards reading at the end of the program. On average, reading levels increased slightly and attitudes towards reading were slightly more negative. Many factors could not be taken into account during the study (e.g., the amount of reading done at home). A study with a control group that did not participate in the program could help to assess whether the program helped to combat summer learning loss.

Keywords


public libraries; summer reading; children's librarianship; reading levels

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