Summertime and the Reading's Easy...

Summertime and the Reading's Easy...
Summertime and the Reading's Easy...

Summertime and the Reading's Easy...

by Katy Vance, Literacy and Research Center Leader

When I was a child, summertime meant long lazy days filled with adventures hidden between the pages of a book. It was an opportunity to re-read some of my favorite childhood mysteries like Agatha Christie whodunits, or to stick my nose into my parents' political and legal thrillers by John Grisham and Tom Clancy, or to simply bury my nose in the pages of my favorite Calvin & Hobbes comics. Swim team, going to Nana's house, heading to a softball game or lying on the couch: no matter what our plans were for the day, my parents made sure that everyone had a book in their hand.

So here I am. It's summer once again, and everyone is excited. But there is no one more excited than me, because as we head into the vacation, it's time to empty our library shelves and send them home with reading Dragons to enjoy all summer. If you don't have any overdue books, you can check out as many books as you want. These books won't do anyone any good collecting dust on the shelves here all summer, but they are a simple way to keep your brain working over the vacation. Did you know that reading just 3-6 books for secondary students and 6-12 books for elementary students will help prevent the summer academic slide that happens when students take a vacation from reading? More importantly though, as Stephen King says, "books are a uniquely portable magic"; they "are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent". There are innumerable boring moments in life, even more delightfully so over the slow summer, and a good book is the perfect way to fill that time.

If you're a parent reading this article, shaking your head and wondering how to get your child to read, give these tips a try:

Model reading: Be a reader. This summer, take a book with you everywhere you go. Getting on the train? Grab a book. Flying somewhere? Crack open a magazine. Lying in the grass, waiting for the fireworks to start? Read a comic. Child is bothering you for dessert? Sorry honey, I'm busy reading my book. Get it yourself.

Read aloud to your child: We are never too old to have someone read to us. Choose a family book and read a chapter out loud every night before everyone goes to sleep.

Read as a family: Choose thirty minutes a day where the whole family will sit down together and read at the same time. I bet it goes for longer than thirty minutes more often than not.

Read the Book before the Movie: Make a family agreement to never watch a movie before reading the book and then create a list of books made into movies that you'll read and then watch this summer.

Put down the electronics: Make parts of your vacation (or the whole thing!) technology free! Turn off your phones and your TV and your computers and your game consoles for a whole week. Read books, take walks, talk to one another and enjoy the freedom. You'll be surprised how many books you can fit in to a day when Snapchat, YouTube and Plants vs. Zombies aren't competing for your attention.

Summer Reading Challenge: Game on! Read on!

One way to read more this summer is to participate in our summer reading challenge. With the student library council and Mr. Broughton, we've created "Game on! Read On!", a fun way to record your reading as part of our 2018 summer reading challenge. In our challenge, it's summer vacation, and you're being followed by monsters everywhere you go! The only way to vanquish these villains is with your literary powers. Visit and enter World 1, Level 1 to begin your summer reading adventure.

Students who complete one world by August 27th will earn admission to our summer reading lunchtime celebration in the library at the end of August. Each completed world will earn a raffle ticket for bookish prizes like a fancy lunch in the library and a gift certificate to a bookstore.

What are you waiting for? Return or renew your overdue books today and check out a staggering pile for the break! No matter where your summer vacation takes you, I hope there will be a book by your side.

Additional Resources

YIS Catalog - Search for books you want before we leave on summer vacation.

YIS eBooks & Audio Books - Read ebooks and listen to audiobooks with your YIS email address.

YIS' Summer Reading Challenge: Game On! Read On! - Vanquish the villains by logging what you've read for our summer reading challenge.