Why You Should Read During the Summer (and How Parents Can Help)

Why should you read during the summer? Let’s get the facts straight…

  • Data (collected for 100 years) shows that students score lower on tests given at the end of summer than at the beginning of summer. We call this learning loss the Summer Slide!
  • Each summer, a student loses about two months of educational gains they had a the end of the previous school year. If a student does not read during the summer break, by the time they reach middle school, they can be up to two years behind students who do read! (2 YEARS!!) The Summer Slide accounts for 85% of the gap between lower-income students and their middle- and upper-income peers.
  • Teachers spend 4-6 weeks reteaching what students lose during the Summer Slide. 4-6 weeks that could be spent learning new material.
  • Having parents who read and have an extensive reading library at home has as much to do with student reading frequency as does income levels.
  • 92% of students will finish a book they picked for themselves.
  • 99% of parents think that students should read over the summer. (100% of school librarians think that students should read over the summer.)
  • Parents think that students should read about 11 books during the summer months. (Awtrey expects students to read at least 3 books this summer.)

Okay, with all of that data, I know why I should read during the summer? But I don’t know what to read.

  • Start with what you like to do. What interests you? Do you play a sport or enjoy a favorite hobby? Find book about that. Or look for fiction books based around that sport or hobby.
  • Ask friends for recommendations. Your friends have a wide variety of favorite genres to read. Ask them about their favorite book they have read this school year or this month. Read a couple of chapters, if it grabs your interest keep reading. If it doesn’t, return it to your friend or library and select another book. (It’s okay not to finish a book that you don’t like. I still have a problem with this, but I have stopped reading a few times because I just didn’t enjoy the book.)
  • NEVER judge a book by its cover! Some hidden gems are on the pages behind a cover that would not interest you. Give the book a try. If you don’t like it, you can always return it.
  • Reading is not a race, so read at your own pace. As long as you are reading!
  • The book I choose is based on my mood at the moment. My favorite genre is Historical Fiction, but sometimes I want to read a Fantasy or Sci-Fi book, and that’s okay too.
  • If you find a series or author that you enjoy, find more books that they wrote or that is in the series.

Parents, what can you do to help your student succeed? Support reading during the summer. Here are some things parents can do:

  • Participate in a summer reading program. Awtrey and Cobb County Schools are enrolled in the Scholastic Read for the World Record. Find out more information HERE.
  • Take your students to the library over the summer. Not only Cobb County Public Library, but did you know that Awtrey is open every Wednesday in June from 10-12? We do fun activities and then let the students check out books. This is open to rising 6th graders, 7th graders and 8th graders (parents can drop them off and pick them up at noon). But siblings are welcome to attend. High school students can come to volunteer and elementary students may come with a parent who is staying to volunteer.
  • Suggest that your students read a book about a family activity. Going to a Braves game, have them read a biography about a player or a fiction book about baseball. Your family vacation to the beach is coming up, have them read a book about sea creatures, beaches, or a fiction book that takes place at a beach.
  • Set a rule (we have it in our family) that you must carry a book (or a device with a book) with you at all times. You never know when you may be waiting at the doctor’s office or in a long line at the grocery store. If you have a book on hand, you’re not wasting time, you’re being productive and reading while you wait.
  • Speaking of devices, did you know that we have over 300 eBooks and 10 audio books for your students to check-out and use? Many are popular titles that I have purchased over the years. You can even use the audio books on a trip in the car and let the whole family listen. Visit our Follett Shelf and get the directions for the mobile app Follett Enlight.
  • Talk about books. Discuss what you are reading, and ask about the books your student is reading. Discussion based on books strengthens your students understanding and knowledge about books and text.
  • Reading doesn’t have to be fiction books. Read a cookbook together to decide what to plan for family meals. Read a newspaper together and talk about current events at dinner. Read a book before watching the movie, then discuss how they were different. Read a How to Book for a craft or activity you want to learn or do together.
  • Read books that your student is reading. (I love YA novels. A lot of parents enjoy YA novels as well. You might too!) It also gives you a chance to talk about books and relate to your student about their interests.
  • Encourage them to read to a younger sibling, cousin or friend.
  • As a family read a joke book, a book of poetry, a funny short story, a book of riddles…have fun with what you read!
  • Going on a trip? Have your student be the navigator and read the map. (Don’t get upset if they mess up. Map reading is a skill that needs to be taught and practiced over time.)

Hopefully, these tips will help your student succeed, not just at Awtrey but everywhere!

Summer Learning
15 Critical Facts to Know About Summer Learning Loss
Reading is Fundamental
Teens and Reading

Posted in Just Read, Learning Center News, Summer Reading.


  1. Pingback: Summer Reading Program | Awtrey Vikings

  2. Really great advice. Thank You. I always try to read the YA novels that my kids are reading and some of them are excellent. The Doomsday Kids series from Karyn Folan has 4 truly outstanding books that rank among the best YA literature I have read. If You want an amazing book series that You can read and enjoy with Your kids, I highly recommend these.


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