The READ Scale (Reference Effort Assessment Data) is a six-point scale tool for recording qualitative statistics by placing an emphasis on recording effort, knowledge, skills, and teaching used by staff during a reference transaction. Institutional research grants enabled the authors to conduct a national study of the READ Scale at 14 diverse academic libraries in spring of 2007 and test its viability as a tool for recording reference statistics. The study data were collected from 170 individuals and 24 service points with over 22,000 transactions analyzed. There was a 52 percent return rate of an online survey of participants, with more than 80 percent of respondents indicating they would recommend or adopt the Scale for recording reference transactions. The authors suggest that the READ Scale has the potential to transform how reference statistics are gathered, interpreted, and valued. This paper presents the findings of a nationwide study testing the Scale in spring 2007 and suggests practical approaches for using READ Scale data.