Saskatchewan Summer Literacy: An Evaluation of...

For a PDF copy of the report, please email Joanne Hritzuk at cuisr.oncampus@usask.ca.

There is a strong relationship between literacy and academic success. Without being able to read, comprehend, and communicate, students will struggle with their education. To address literacy needs and promote a literate population, the Ministry of Education in cooperation with Saskatchewan public libraries has committed to developing a coordinated provincial strategy and evaluation around the activities and outcomes of the yearly Summer Reading program. The goals of this research project, with the support of the Community-University Institute for Social Research (CUISR) and in conjunction with the Summer Reading Evaluation Committee drawn from the public library systems, are to achieve the following:
• Facilitate the creation of a methodology to evaluate the Summer Reading Program across the province.
• Develop a set of baseline program data of public library summer reading practice in the public library systems.
The Summer Reading Evaluation draws qualitative and quantitative data from a variety of datasets including these: website analytics, digital tool dashboards, demographic information and public library reporting. The development of the Evaluation is based on a robust literature that shows that public libraries are “well positioned to provide children with the opportunity to read more over the summer months, helping to address the problem of summer learning loss” (Gross Gilroy Inc., 2006). As an initial step to developing an Evaluation and strategic framework for development of summer programming, CUISR and the Provincial Library and Literacy Office (PLLO) contracted in 2013-2014 to create an initial set of input data by developing a questionnaire/tool for Saskatchewan. The baseline program data was developed based on half-hour interviews with twelve public library coordinators across the province. Data collected pertained to the following aspects: (1) program funding and expenditures, (2) prizes and incentives, (3) resources, (4) tours and performers, (5) program coordination, (6) programmer time, (7) mandate, and (8) coordinator reflection. This report suggests several possible methodologies to evaluate the outcomes of the summer reading program, including quantitative data analysis, experimental methodology, and the social return on investment (SROI) analysis. The recommendations in this report are expected to help identify the necessary measurements for inputs, outputs, and outcomes for summer reading programs.

Schwark, Tyler and Rahul Waikar, Suresh S. Kalagnanam, Isobel M. Findlay. (2014). Saskatchewan Summer Literacy: An Evaluation of Summer Reading Programming in Saskatchewan Public Libraries. Saskatoon: Community-University Institute for Social Research.