Summer Reading: Did it Work?

Let’s talk about Summer Reading as a whole first. I mentioned earlier this year about how I stepped out of the SRP Box by starting May 1st. Wow, am I ever glad I decided to do this.  My numbers skyrocketed to say the least.  We had  531 teens who read 958,920 pages and 2218 hours! That’s quite a boost from 323 teens in 2012. (Teens were able to choose hours or pages this year so I don’t really have an accurate comparison from last year.)

Since I changed my time schedule, I thought it would be interesting to post stats that were from May to June & stats from June to July.


# of teens

completed level 1

200 pages/2 hours

completed level 2

400 pages/4 hours

completed level 3

1400 pages/14 hours



306 (95%)

277 (86%)

203 (63%)

May- June


487 (92%)

422 (79%)

261 (49%)

June- July


375 (96%)

337 (86%)

211 (54%)

I definitely lost some teens, almost all from the schools I visited (I’ll talk more on that later), but even looking just June to July I still saw a nice 21% increase. Can I accredit all of this to making the start date May? Probably not, but when looking at school visit numbers there was a jump across the board. These are the places where I would have pushed the May 1st start date the most.

My completion numbers also saw a bit of a dive; mainly when looking at the 1400 page/14 hours mark. My gut reaction is that again this may have to do something with the schools. There were extra incentives for a couple a schools that I feel when they hit the benchmark for that prize they stopped. Of course, 1400 pages/14 hours can be a lot for my community of struggling readers and I was able to get some of those teens to participate so that may be part of the issue. However, I’m not willing to knock that number any lower because it’s our lock-in prize level. I’m already nearing 90 kids who come and I’m not sure I want to make it easier to earn! It’s already a slight struggle to properly staff it as it is. Too many more kids and all my helpers may finally jump ship and run far, far away; something I’m trying very, very hard to avoid!

As for the actually school visit numbers themselves, I am quite pleased at what the stats show. Again I worked up the stats to show May- June (1st line) & June – July (2nd line).


# of teens seen

# that signed up

# who heard from


return %

change from 2012


3 days/490

70 (↑1066%)
18 (↑200%)



↑ from %0.7


4 days/265

66 (↑43%)
52 (↑13%)



↑ from %4


2 days/402

104 (↑333%)
43 (↑79%)



↑ from 5%

I did do a 4th school visit, but since I only talked to 8th graders they were a bit harder to track. The high school I believe most of them would go to saw a 50% increase. However, many of my regulars would also being going to that high school, so I’m not sure I can give any credit to the school visits.

However, for the other schools, I am thrilled with these numbers. While I love that I saw an increase in participants, it’s the increase in return rates that make me the happiest. (For the return rates, I only use the number who said they heard about summer reading at school/from me) While the June to July numbers still aren’t my ideal 10%, every school saw at least a 3% increase.

I do need to think more about why I lost so many teens once school ended and if there is anything I can do to solve it. Even in school 3, where there was a promise of a pizza party for hitting 1,000 pages/10 hours, I still lost 60 teens! This is where I need to talk more with the school librarian and see what we can brainstorm. Is it transportation, access, or the lack of someone pushing them to do it/holding it accountable? Or maybe they just don’t care once summer has started. I’m sure it’s a mixture of all those things and more, but it would be interesting to see if there is anything more we can do to stop the huge drop rates.

So, do I think stepping out of my SRP box was worth it? YES! I will without a doubt be doing this again next year. There is still some kinks to work out, but I think this is the correct path to getting my teens more involved in summer reading.


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