Shanthi Tiruchittampalam

Doctor of Philosophy, (Education)
Study Completed: 2015
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
School years, summer holidays and the reading achievement gap

The reading achievement gap among readers across different socioeconomic backgrounds is a persistent one. To identify the origin and development of this gap, Ms Tiruchittampalam tracked 136 new entrant children across four different decile schools over 18 months spanning two school years and two summer breaks. She found that the reading gap between the highest and lowest decile children started in their first full year of school. This gap developed over the time the children were in school but increased by about three-fold during the summer break. At the start of Year three of school, the highest decile children were reading at a reading age of almost two years above their lowest decile counterparts. This study contributes to the literature on gaps in reading achievement and the results identified the origin of the reading gap lies in the first year of formal schooling and significantly widens during the summer vacation when children are not in school.

Professor Thomas Nicholson
Distinguished Professor William Tunmer
Dr Keith Greaney

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