21 Apr The Importance and Benefits of Summer Reading for Kids’ Success
Why is summer reading so important for kids’ success? Can reading for pleasure improve a child’s academic achievement? Are there fun ways parents can help kids reap the benefits of reading? The answers are yes. The pandemic has resulted in many children’s reading and writing scores decreasing. Did you know that a similar thing happens annually, called the summer slide? Without the structure and time devoted to school learning, kids often backslide in their skills. Reading can suffer the most but can be easy to fix.
What are the Benefits of Summer Reading for Children?
The truth about summer reading for children (and parents) is that it can be a challenge, especially when friends and technology are pulling their attention. However, summer reading can truly help kids build future success. Reading any time can improve a child’s skills. But did you know that reading for pleasure can also dramatically enhance a child’s development and academics? Here are some benefits of summer reading:
- Studies show that children who read often are more likely to do better in school classes.
- Summer reading helps children build on academic progress and can prevent them from losing educational ground, slowing the summer slide.
- During summer, a child has more freedom to choose what they read. This leads to more frequent reading and improved abilities.
- When students read for pleasure, it still helps them increase their vocabulary, boost reading comprehension, and build their sentence skills without kids even knowing it.
- Reading a wider variety of books also assists kids’ understanding of other people’s points of view, so summertime reading can even help children’s interactions with classmates.
- Studies also show that kids involved in summer reading are better prepared for schoolwork, come fall.
4 Ways Can Parents Help their Children Keep Reading over the Summer
Parents can also take the DIY approach of buying books (retail/online/used book sale) or weekly library visits. By encouraging children to choose books for fun, and ones that match their interests, you can help them hold off the summer slide. If your kids love science and nature, ask the librarian for books that fit those interests. If they love sports, find those books in the children’s section. Books can be fiction or non-fiction. For older children, adults can even help them select books from the main library to explore an interest more deeply!
Once parent and child gather an initial set of books, the next challenge is encouraging them to read. Adults can set a time to read books to their young children; read with older kids; and for tweens… even have kids read to a parent! This can lead to a sense of confidence and accomplishment. I still remember my father reading me The Jungle Books and Little House on the Prairie when I was young, and by the third Little House on the Prairie book, I was hooked and began reading them with him, and then by myself!
A related trick for parents is finding a book series their children love, an author, a topic, or even books that were made into fav movies. This can be an effective way to keep kids reading throughout the summer. Parents can create a chart with books titles from the series, fav author, or topic/theme/movies. Kids can check off the list on the fridge, or award themselves a gold star, for each book read. My mom loved horse stories as a child. When us kids came along, she first read us her horse books like My Friend Flicka. Once we showed an interest, she gathered other books by the same authors and newer horse stories, and we began reading them together. She tells a story about my oldest brother (the scientist mentioned in this STEM-related careers post) that went something like… “He said he didn’t want to read horsey stories.” She encouraged him to try one and, “he was off to the races” and ended up reading most of them.
Some children resist summer reading, others love reading and want to excel. Some kids thrive with structure and are a bit lost in the summer. Either way, parents can look for in-person or online summer reading classes, or even local story times at the library. Summer reading classes like those ALOHA runs for 6-12-year-old kids* can help children connect with reading, while retaining some teacher/student structures. Whatever the reason, online classes are another way to engage a child. (*ALOHA centers can be in-person, hybrid or online only, based on covid guidelines, click or tap to find a center near you ).
Summing Up Why Summer Reading is Important for Kids’ Success?
- Adults know that reading provides a crucial foundation for children academically.
- We also know how much reading most of us do in our daily work, and thus its importance for kids’ future success.
- We learned here that reading for pleasure over the summer helps kids retain more of, and build on, what they learned in school and lose less academic ground.
I encourage parents to get creative in inspiring kids to read this summer; it will pay off in the classroom this fall. You might just also be giving a child the gift of a favorite lifelong hobby. As an avid reader myself, I thank my parents and teachers for helping me pick up a good habit, and many an enjoyable book.
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.