Testing shows that kids who read for pleasure in the summer do better and forget less when they go back to school. And it's not just in reading. Kids who don't read over the summer can slide backward in all subject areas. This can mean a big loss in their literacy growth compared to those who do continue learning all year long. This means the summer months and other breaks from school offer great opportunities for families and caregivers to help improve reading and writing.
What can adults do to help? Here are some simple things you can do develop a lifelong love of reading and writing.
- Read and write for pleasure. Read the newspaper. Read a book. Make a grocery list. Write a letter or an email. Talk about what you do, and why you do it.
- Read and write with your young person(s). Read aloud. Listen to books on tape or CD in the car. Write notes, make lists. Write a group letter or email to family or friends. Demonstrate the power of words.
Research has found that summer reading does affect school achievement. For example,
- The number of books read during the summer is consistently related to academic gains
- Use of the public library is more predictive of vocabulary gains than attending summer school
- Reading is the single summer activity most strongly and consistently related to summer learning
- Children in every income group who read six or more books over the summer gained more in reading achievement than children who did not
- The major factors determining whether a child read over summer were whether the child used the public library, sex (girls read more than boys but also watched more TV), socioeconomic state and the distance from home to a library
- Eighty percent of children living within seven blocks of a branch library used a library regularly
- More than any public institution, the library contributed to the intellectual growth of children during the summer
Source: Heyns, B. (October 1987). Schooling and Cognitive Development: Is There a Season for Learning? Child Development, 58 (11), pp51-60.
Summer Reading 2012
- Pre-Readers: Read to Me!
- Kids: Dream Big - Read!
- Teens: Own the Night
- Adults: Between the Covers
- All Summer Reading Events