Encourage your Child to Read During National Reading Month in March and Help Slow the Summer Reading Slide


Encourage your Child to Read During National Reading Month in March and Help Slow the Summer Reading Slide

Parents can find reading resources to help inspire their children to read during National Reading Month during March. These ideas can also carry your family into summer to help slow the summer slide where kids can lose academic gains made during the school year. Started in the 1980’s, this celebration of reading is now run by the National Education Association.


With your youngest, reading aloud books like Dr. Seuss, or more modern board and picture books, not only can help kids begin to learn to read themselves, but also helps in bonding with your child. At a certain point many children say let me read it to you, or you can encourage them to do that! Although be aware that some children may have memorized the story (which is also great for cognitive learning). You might need to encourage them to actually learn the right words, story or numbers and colors. 


Tip for Young Readers: What I did with my great niece is, after reading the book, I made it a game. We went through the pages and took turns randomly picking words and colors out of order so she could learn them better, rather than only memorizing.


If you wonder which books best fit your older readers, I’ve provided a guide here. The age-ranges are suggested target ages, but kids often care less about categories than adults do.

  1. Chapter Books: Starting around third grade or ages 7-10, chapter books are the way to go. Chapter books tell the story with prose/words rather than mainly with pictures; although many chapter books also include some illustrations. Especially when read aloud to start they introduce kids to more complex storytelling and language. Chapter books also help them develop deeper reading skills and comprehension especially when children begin reading on their own.
  2. Middle Grade Fiction: Is written for kids ages 8-12 or 3rd to 6th You’ll notice some overlap in age-groups, as kids transition from one type to the next. These stories get a bit longer and offer more complexity in the writing. And can expose kids to more of the world around them.
  3. Teen and Young Adult Fiction: Is more directed towards 13 and 14 to 18-year-olds and is somewhat out of our scope.


No matter which books your kids are reading if you start this spring, you will have them well on the way to slowing the Summer Slide. To help you pick books that might fit your child’s interests, reading level or age – check this list of books-by-age from Scholastic


Reading note: When I was young, my mom read me kid’s books. Once I began to read them myself, my dad had a different idea. My father began reading me the first three Laura Ingalls books in the Little House on the Prairie series. By the third book in the series, I was reading along with him, then reading him parts of the stories. By later in the series…I was reading them myself.


What are the benefits of reading books to young children that are celebrated during National Reading Month in March?


Reading books to young children offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Establishing Reading Habits: Early exposure to reading fosters a lifelong love for books, contributing to continuous learning and personal development.
  • Language Skills Development: Exposes children to a rich vocabulary and complex sentence structures, enhancing their language acquisition and literacy skills.
  • Cognitive Skills Enhancement: Stimulates imagination and curiosity, improving concentration, memory, and critical thinking skills.
  • Attention Span and Discipline: Helps improve attention span and self-discipline as children learn to sit still and listen during story time.
  • Problem-Solving Skills: Through stories, children encounter characters facing challenges, helping them develop empathy and problem-solving skills.
  • Academic Success: Builds a strong foundation for academic learning, correlating with better performance in school.
  • Emotional and Social Growth: Through stories, children learn about empathy, emotions, and social interactions, helping them understand their own feelings and those of others.
  • Bonding Time: Reading together strengthens the bond between the child and the parent, or sibling, providing a sense of security and intimacy.
  • Creativity and Imagination: Encourages creativity and imagination by introducing children to new ideas, worlds, and possibilities.
  • Decreasing the summer slide where children lose academic momentum. Reading can be one of the easiest ways to keep kids learning during summer.
  • Cultural Awareness: Introduces children to diverse cultures and perspectives, promoting inclusivity and understanding.

And for adults, while seeing you reading may inspiring your child to read, it also brings benefits for you:

  • Helping your memory.
  • Increasing your cognitive function and vocabulary too.
  • Even relieving stress! As 2009 study showed that reading can reduce stress by 68%.

Reading can Help a Child Build Connections with Others and the Larger World

Reading books can give a child something to talk about in daycare, school or at recess. Talking with other kids about the books they like can help them find friends. One technique, if you have more than one child, is to encourage them to read to each other. For the older child, reading to another is different than reading to yourself. It can strengthen cognitive functions even further. But even just seeing siblings read, is also a great prompt for younger children. I remember my oldest brother saying he didn’t want to read those horsey books that my mom had from her childhood. She convinced him to just try one of them. He did, and then he read them all. When I got older, I wanted to read those books my brother had read; then again, I was in love with horses anyway! Reading stories also helps a child expand their knowledge of the world outside of their own home and school. From non-fiction or reality-based books to pure fiction and flights of fancy, books can help a child develop their imagination and learn about the larger world.

Fun Reading Facts: Did you know that a child who reads or is read to for 20 minutes a day will be exposed to about 1.8 million words by the end of the year? Did you know that reading fiction books can increase better decision-making abilities? Did you know that reading can boost career prospects by over 50%? Did you know that 27% of American adults reported that they had not read a book in the past year?

For a Concrete way to Slow the Summer Slide Explore ALOHA’s Summer Enrichment Camp Programs.

The summer slide is a real phenomenon; kids do lose learning during summer. Although they are gaining ground, for kids whose grade school was interrupted by the pandemic, this loss could be greater. For a more teacher-led summer educational program, and a more structured way to keep your child’s summer learning high, look to places like an ALOHA Center near you. ALOHA Mind Math’s summer camp classes for elementary school children are geared to meet your child’s needs at their age group and level of learning. During our summer program in 2024, our teachers adapt to the high achiever, and to the student who is struggling with reading and writing. We also have math programs as well.


Reading Month Wrap Up

Building a foundation of a love of reading clearly had multiple benefits for children of all ages, as well as for adults. March’s National Reading Month can be a great way to get a head start as we round into spring and head toward summer, and the dreaded summer slide. Once you understand the power and benefits of reading, I’m sure parents can find ways to get creative in supporting a child’s love of the written word. I am eternally grateful to my parents who did so for me when I was young. Resources: National reading Month link for more info


Written by Cathy Larkin, a freelance writer and social media coordinator, who has been a part of the ALOHA Mind Math team for several years.

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