Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy (PhD)

Degree Level



Political Science


Tom Smith

Committee Member

John Gaber

Second Committee Member

Valerie Hunt

Third Committee Member

Christopher Lucas


Social sciences, education, Academic achievement, Achievement gap, Elementary education


Children with weakened academic skills face the possibility of having less access to higher education, or advanced career opportunities later in life. Such disadvantages, if not addressed, may result in a series of diminished opportunities that may affect a child's overall quality of life. Several educational experts suggest that the negative effects of the academic achievement gap are cumulative, and many educational experts also believe that the achievement gap between high and low socioeconomic students continues to be a persistent problem for which few solutions have materialized. The potential for summer reading programs to be implemented as a mechanism to combat the effects of summer learning loss is an area of interest and promise in terms of overall educational policy. As such, the question of whether participation in summer reading programs positively affects the academic skills of elementary students is an educational policy issue that merits further exploration and discussion.