Summer break is an exciting time for students to go on vacation, spend time with their families, and get involved in sports and enrichment activities. The summer is also a great time for students to experience new and stimulating opportunities to learn.
Often times the former overshadows the latter, but when families engage in summer reading together they are able to create new memories, meaningful conversations, shared adventures and experiences to cherish while also making an impact on their child’s learning.
Studies show that reading daily during summer break is the most important activity to prevent summer learning loss, especially for younger children. Children who have parents that read to them five to seven nights a week do exceptionally better in school and are more likely to read for fun throughout the rest of their school careers. Even if children are able to read on their own, reading as a family has a positive effect on their knowledge of social and cognitive skills.
Throughout the summer many organizations are encouraging students and their families to participate in summer reading. Here at the U.S. Department of Education we are holding Let’s Read! Let’s Move! events around Washington, D.C., to increase awareness about the critical importance of summer learning, nutrition and physical activity.
Organizations such as the National PTA have launched a Family Reading Challenge through July, Book It! Summer Reading Challenge runs through August, and the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge launched in May. These challenges are designed to inspire families to read together. The National PTA is using social media to encourage families across the country to explain in their own voices why reading together is a fun and rewarding family activity, in the summer and throughout the school year. Scholastic is awarding the highest scoring elementary and middle schools the opportunity to meet with authors. With the Book It! challenge young readers will have the opportunity to chat and earn daily rewards.
Many other organizations have an array of summer reading resources to keep kids reading, including Reading Rockets, PBS Kids, Reading is Fundamental, and Common Sense Media, among others. Young readers have many options to choose from when it comes to reading.
Children look up to their parents and often mirror many of their habits later in life. Make reading for fun one of those habits. Take time today to head to a local library or bookstore and find an exciting book to read.
Chareese Ross is Liaison to National Organizations on the National Engagement Team at the U.S. Department of Education