[For elementary-age children (5-11)]
I’m sure we all remember that blissful last-day-of-school feeling: the jittery excitement running through every classroom. But now as parents, we might be feeling a different kind of jitters. Although it comes with tons of fun, summer can be stressful for parents. It comes with many questions: how do you balance work and your child being home? What camps or classes should you sign your child up for? How do you avoid the summer slide and make sure your child is ready for the following school year?
It too often feels like summer is a break from education, and we at Book Nook want to help you flip that script. Summer break is just as important and beneficial as school itself. Rest and play are a huge part of that. It is important that children get to play outside, spend time with friends, and relish in the carefree joy of youth. It’s even okay if they are bored some days. Yes, bored! Boredom boosts mindfulness and creativity, so if you don’t have a plan for every long summer day, it’s okay.
But along with this needed relaxation, the freedom of summer also provides a wonderful chance to further education from a place of curiosity and ease.
At Book Nook, our core mission is to plant the seeds of a love for reading. From there, literacy skills bloom the brightest. Below are 4 primary reasons why summer reading is just as important as reading in school:
You Can Take Learning Beyond the Classroom
Learning at a desk is one thing, but education is so much more than completing worksheets and assigned reading. The skills our children learn in school are skills we want them to apply to every aspect of their lives. Summer is a perfect time to do that! If you’re taking a road trip, read road signs or play a game where you try to find all the letters of the alphabet on license plates. If your child is interested in animals, read a book and then take a trip to the zoo or the American Museum of Natural History. Discuss what you see and connect it to what you read about. The summer provides an opportunity for the classroom walls to widen with possibility.
It’s a Wonderful Time for “Reluctant Readers”
If your child is struggling with their reading and writing, it might feel like the last thing they need is summer vacation. However, summer might be exactly what they need. For a child who is having trouble reading, a school environment can be very overwhelming. If reading isn’t bringing them joy, then constantly being told what to read (and then evaluated and graded on it) might be pushing them further away from the page. Summer provides space for your child to rediscover the delight in reading. People are able to learn, process, and retain information much easier from a place of joy, ease, and curiosity. Taking the summer to foster that love and enjoyment will serve as the foundation for your child’s growth in school once the fall rolls back around.
Your Child Can Get to Know Themselves
It is so important to let our children follow their interests and pursue what they are passionate about. This gives them a stronger sense of identity, boosts their confidence, and stimulates a greater desire to learn. Standard education does a wonderful job of introducing children to all sorts of ideas and ways of thinking. It also teaches children about discipline, structure, and how to complete assignments. But education reaches a new level and depth when we feel a sense of agency over it: when we seek knowledge rather than just being told to complete a task. Summer allows more time for this, and your child will be more motivated to read and write about topics they have chosen.
Your Child Can Recharge…and We All Need That
Another way to improve literacy skills is to take a break. Just like professional athletes need an offseason to grow stronger, our minds need breaks to grow brighter. A prime example of this is when we go to bed overwhelmed by a problem, and wake up rested with solutions. When our minds rest, they come back better than ever! We need this at every age. So while you should certainly practice literacy skills with your child over the summer and have a reading routine, do not fear the term “break.” You may be surprised that after a day of playing in the sun, your child is even more prepared and excited to sit down and bask in books before bedtime.
Happy summer reading!
Gervis, Zoya. “Why so Many Parents Are Stressing out about Summer.” New York Post, New York Post, 20 June 2019, https://nypost.com/2019/06/20/why-so-many-parents-are-stressing-out-about-summer/.
Heather from Recipe for Teaching. “10 Ways to Encourage Summer Reading.” The Kindergarten Connection, 31 May 2022, https://thekindergartenconnection.com/10-ways-keep-child-reading-summer/.