• Angela Smith

Do Children Really Need to Read in the Summer?

Summer is here. Kids are thinking of ice cream, the beach, playing in the sprinkler and long days. Parents are worrying about sunblock, mosquitos, child care and hydration.

After such a stressful and confusing year, this summer should be a time for relaxation and resetting. There is no doubt about that.

But that does not mean anyone should turn off their brains. In fact, there is research that says many students will experience summer slide, a loss of the educational gains made during the previous school year.

This, however, does not mean students should be studying for hours a day during the summer. We know they need a break, but there are plenty of fun and engaging activities to keep their brains active.

Each month this summer, we will provide you with some of those activities.

Summer Reading

It sounds archaic. It’s been around forever. But there is plenty of research to support it. If your child is one that likes to read, the words summer reading do not cause you any stress, except for maybe procuring the books needed.

But for students who say they hate to read, parents and children can be easily frustrated and feel helpless at the sound of those words. Here are some ideas to inspire reading for students of any age.

Choice: having a choice in what you read is important, especially for those who do not already love reading. This may be hard when schools assign books. However, there is still plenty of choices to be made

Allow children to choose when they want to read. For some children, you will have to give them options, but let it be their choice.

Allow children to choose where they read. If you find they have made a poor choice because they are distracted by something else, talk to them about it and ask them to choose again.

Allow them to quit the book before they finish and start a new one (if they have a choice in what book they read).

Make it Social: For many reading is a solitary activity. For those who do not like reading, this may be a deterrent to reading. To make reading more social you can:

  • Read the book as well so you can talk to them about it

  • Find other children that are reading the same book and get them together to chat--bring ice cream

  • Read aloud to them sometimes. Do not have them read to you too much. Many beginning readers find that stressful and often do not comprehend what they are reading because they are focused on being embarrassed and not messing up