Is Summer Reading Really That Important?

Is Summer Reading Really That Important?

For many students, summer brings a shift from the rhythm of rigorous classroom learning to an often much slower pace. Regardless of what is on the summer agenda, reading shouldn’t stop when the bell rings on the last day of school. 

Let's explore the research highlighting the importance of summer learning and why Just Right Reader Take-Everywhere Decodable Packs are perfect for your students' summer reading plan. Plus, five ways you can make reading fun this summer.

Why is summer reading important?

Dr. Paul von Hippel on the opportunity of summer learningWhile summer schedules look different for all families, summer learning is not often at the forefront of students' minds for several reasons, such as pursuing other activities that don’t require academic skills, not having access to books, or simply not having the same structured routine as the school year. 

Without offering them learning opportunities, their progress and development may stagnate.

During a recent  Science of Reading Symposium, Dr. Paul von Hippel, a Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, encouraged a shift in perspective regarding summer learning.

Rather than viewing it as a risk for learning loss, he advocated for considering it as a chance to optimize learning potential. These months should be seen as an opportunity to maintain and expand upon students' academic foundations from the school year, while also encouraging the exploration of new topics to build background knowledge and cultivate a lifelong love for learning.


What are the benefits of summer reading?

Studies indicate advantages of summer reading include:

  • Increased cognitive development and academic performance.
  • Strengthened skills in the core reading areas of phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency. 
  • Increased motivation to learn about new topics that build background knowledge. 

Dr. Paul von Hippel's 5 Steps for Summer Success

Elevate Summer Reading with Just Right Reader Take-Everywhere Decodable Packs

 Whether used for summer school programs or at home, Just Right Reader Take-HEverywhere Decodable Packs give students the power of personalized phonics practice to continue reading at their independent level and strengthen foundational skills during the summer.

Our Take-Everywhere Decodable Packs Feature: 

  • Science of Reading decodables personalized for each student based on district reading assessment data.
  • Writing pages to reinforce decoding and writing skills.
  • Research-based activities that motivate students to read.
  • QR codes to access fun phonics lessons in English and Spanish to support students and families reading at home.
  • Backpacks for students to take their reading everywhere.


5 Strategies to Make Summer Reading Fun

While some kids might sigh at the thought of learning over the summer, caregivers can present the endeavor in exciting and flexible ways. 

1. Create a Reading Challenge
Provide a list of places to read, lengths of time to read, people to read to, and so on. Incorporate rewards to add an extra layer of motivation.

2. Visit Your Local Library or Community Center for Summer Programs
Public libraries and community centers often have fun summer programs for kids and families to learn together. 

3. Host a Book Club or Reading Party
Organize a summer book club or reading party. Kids can pick a book to read together and participate in discussions, activities, or even a themed party based on the book.

4. Create a Cozy Reading Space
A dedicated reading space can make reading feel special. Transform a corner of your home or an outdoor area into a cozy space used only for reading.

5. Combine Reading with Other Activities
Integrate reading with other activities. For example, if students read a decodable about owls, encourage them to draw an owl or complete a research project. If they read a decodable about a trip to a museum, they can design their own museum on paper, create one with household items, or even take a trip to a museum. Add another layer of creativity to decodables and do a craft that connects to the books they read.

Discover more activities to make reading fun over the summer.

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     Alexander, K. L., Entwisle, D. R., & Olson, L. S. (2007). Lasting consequences of the summer learning gap.American Sociological Review, 72(2), 167–180.

     Atteberry, A., & McEachin, A. (in press, 2020). School's out: The role of summers in understanding achievement disparities. American Educational Research Journal.

     Cooper, H., Nye, B., Charlton, K., Lindsay, J., & Greathouse, S. (1996).The effects of summer vacation on achievement test scores: A narrative and meta-analytic review.Review of Educational Research,66(3), 227–268. 

     Dr. von Hippel, Paul. Professor at The University of Texas at Austin.
Symposium on Accelerating Summer Reading & Eliminating the Summer Slide, 2023.

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