Why Summer Reading?
School is winding down (2 more weeks, as I write this) and everyone in my family is excited to move into the lazy days of summer. My four kids look forward to sleeping in, attending fun camps throughout the summer, and not having to think about anything related to school. Then they remember summer reading requirements and I start hearing “Why? School’s over, why do I have to read?” from their mouths. Luckily for them (or, maybe unluckily in their eyes), as Director of Libraries at Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK), I can answer that question!
CAK requires summer reading from all students -- Preschool through 12th grade. In all three buildings, the librarians work with the classroom teachers to create a list of required and optional books that will enhance the academic strides that the students make during the school year. The purpose of summer reading at each building level is slightly different. In elementary school, we want to encourage a love of reading and prevent a loss of literacy skills/fluency over the summer break. In middle and high school, summer reading is more closely tied to curriculum goals. Middle school students have a large selection of books and authors they can choose from for their optional book. In addition, we ask that students/families read a Christian Life book together. High school students are asked to read at least one required book, with students in Honors, AP, or Dual Enrollment classes reading additional titles.
We do not require this reading simply to put a damper on summer activities. The librarians and teachers at CAK believe that summer reading is key to continued school success.
Reading over the summer increases students’ reading skills (studies show that students gain up to a month’s worth of reading proficiency/fluency). Students who do not read in the summer lose two to three months worth of reading proficiency each year! Reading opens students’ minds to new worlds. Reading allows us to explore parts of the world that we may not visit and to experience cultures that are different from our day to day lives. Reading for pleasure allows us to slow down, to savor the world created by authors, and to disconnect from the pressure of our daily lives.
As a parent, I understand the desire to take a complete break from required school activities. It is wonderful to slow down and focus on time as a family. As a librarian, I know the importance of reading through this break and the many benefits that our children receive both from reading and seeing the adults in their lives read. I challenge you to join your kids in their summer reading activities. Try a new author or genre. Participate in the public libraries’ summer reading program (you and your children can win prizes!) Read as a family -- no one is too old for reading aloud!
The CAK Summer Reading lists may be found on the CAK Libraries webpage. look forward to seeing your children next year after their many summer adventures through books!