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The importance of reading for pleasure over the summer holidays

Wendy Wright —

From the English Department and Library Team


Reading is like just about everything else in life, the more you do it the better you get.

Away from school, over the long summer holidays, some teens spend less time reading. Often, it's those who can least afford to lose their years' reading gains who fall the furthest behind. The 'summer slide' can also be seen in other curriculum areas such as maths, and on levels of a student's confidence.

A number of studies into student’s reading loss over the long summer break have shown that:

  • Teachers spend weeks, if not a term or more, helping students catch up to the reading levels they achieved the previous year
  • The results of not reading over summer are long-lasting, often having a powerful influence on reading levels throughout high-school and beyond
  • Libraries are a fun place for teens with free wifi, books and plenty of support for students to get books, relax and read
  • Students who have access to books and holiday learning experiences such as travel, museum visits, or other similar experiences are not as affected by the lack of reading than those whose summer has no new challenges or experiences
  • it's harder to close the gap once it has opened, so the earlier the intervention the better.

If your son stops reading for an extended length of time, they often take a few steps backwards in their reading improvement. For this reason, it is important to encourage them to keep reading during the holidays despite the distraction of friends, relatives and holiday events. 

Remember that joining a library is free, and it also costs nothing to take out a book out to read.

Suggestions to Consider

It is important that ‘down time’ takes place in the holidays and this is the time to pick up a book and relax.

Listed below are a few ideas to increase your sons holiday reading.

Create a Holiday Tradition of Reading

One of the best ways to keep your son interested in reading during the holidays is to create holiday traditions of reading books during these special times. By picking interesting books with holiday themes and making it a family experience, they develop positive thoughts about holiday reading. Making sure that they get at least one book as a holiday gift is another way of providing an opportunity to read.

Students who see adults reading for relaxation are themselves encourage to read.

Don’t Overdo It

While it is wise and very effective to provide fun holiday reading experiences, it is important to not overdo it. It is easy to have teens experience burn-out during a time when they should be enjoying their holiday break from formal schooling. Keep the holiday reading tradition short and enjoyable. Let them enjoy this social time as well.

Every book gives the reader an opportunity to learn new things and explore new ideas. Reading books increases your general knowledge

Reading helps you discover yourself

Every good book opens new dimensions of thoughts for the reader. When you read a book, you somehow try to connect the events, emotions, experiences and characters in the books with yourself. This not only keeps you engrossed into the book, but it also makes you realize how you would react and feel to those situations that have not yet occurred in your life.

It helps you broaden your views of likes and dislikes and things that would please you. So, with every page that you read, you have a chance to discover a new part of yourself!

Reading improves your emotional health

Books are full of emotions. Sometimes they will make you cry with every turning page and sometimes they will just keep you smiling. Books can make us happy, sad, jealous, loved, betrayed and so on! Books are a collection of different mixed emotions that ultimately help us grow emotionally!

Reading helps you develop your memory

There are a lot of things that we need to remember while reading a book. Name of the characters and their features, name of the places, plots and sub-plots, the sequence of events, important conversations etc. are some of the key information we need to keep in mind while reading. The ability to retain these information keeps improving with the number of books that you read.

As your brain learns to remember the information from the story-line, it also becomes better at remembering other things of your life. So, by reading books, you are also indirectly training your brain in improving your memory.

Reading is a great source of motivation

Life is tricky. Sometimes there are moments in our life when we feel down and discouraged. We may lose our hope and interest in life and just want to give up. In times like this, sometimes all we need is a little motivation, a little push in the right direction.

Reading a good inspirational book during such period can change our way of thinking and give us hope and motivation and help us transform our lives positively.

We are finding that the boys really enjoy reading, what we call triumph over adversity books especially ones that are real life experiences. Biographies are very popular and Horror/ Ghost stories have been on the rise as well.

Summer reading is about reading for pleasure — allowing students to choose what they want to read, with the focus being relaxation and enjoyment and no 'work', such as writing book reviews.

Remember reading for pleasure is hopefully not just on a phone or device but, manga comics, graphic novels, magazines, and books. It is a great advantage to your student if you are a good reading role model and they see you reading for pleasure, remember to take time out in the summer break and read something yourself.

Happy Holidays. We hope you have a relaxing time with your family.

Holiday Reading