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Reading for Pleasure is on the Decline —Summer Is the Time to Fix It

Kids are not reading for pleasure as much as they used to. 

It’s no surprise that children spend less time reading for pleasure today. Instant entertainment and stimulation take precedence over slower, contemplative reading.

According to Common Sense Media. . .

  • HALF of all children under eight own a tablet device and spend an average of about 2.25 hours a day on digital screens
  • 8- to 12-year-olds spend an average of almost five hours a day looking at screens on smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, and TVs
  • Teens aged 3 to 17 spend about 7 hours and 22 minutes per day on screen time.

While reading scores are on the rise, pleasure reading has been declining steadily. Leisure reading also declines more as students age. source

Why Reading for Pleasure Matters

  • Positive Benefits on Mental Health. How often students read can relate to their mental health. For instance, a Scholastic Reading Frequency report shows teens who were infrequent readers were more likely to say they felt:
  • nervous or anxious (50% of infrequent readers vs. 39% of frequent readers)
  • sad or depressed (37% of infrequent readers vs. 25% of frequent readers)
  • lonely (30% of infrequent readers vs. 19% of frequent readers).
  • Reading Builds Social Skills and Empathy. Reading allows students to experience the world from other perspectives and gain insights into other cultures and experiences. Furthermore, reading can help students build greater emotional intelligence.
  • Boost Academics. Reading for pleasure is linked to increased cognitive development, including clearer thinking, better problem-solving, and improved decision-making. It also builds vocabulary and strengthens writing skills.

Learn how to build stronger reading habits here

The Importance of Summer Reading

Summer vacation offers a valuable break from the structured routines of the school year. It’s a time when children can explore their interests, expand their horizons, and discover new worlds through reading. 

Engaging in summer reading helps combat learning loss during the break and fosters creativity, imagination, and critical thinking skills. Plus, it allows kids to develop a lifelong love for reading that can benefit them in various aspects of life.

6 Ways to Make Summer Reading for Pleasure Fun

reading for pleasure

To reverse the decline in pleasure reading, it’s essential to make summer reading a fun and enticing activity for kids. 

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

1. Create a Reading for Pleasure Challenge

Set a goal for how many books your child should read over the summer, and create a reward system for achieving it. Make it a friendly competition or involve their friends to add an element of excitement.

2. Visit the Library

Take your child to the local library and let them explore the vast collection of books. Encourage them to choose books that align with their interests, whether it’s adventure, fantasy, science fiction, or any other genre.

3. Read for Pleasure Together 

Make reading a shared experience by establishing a family reading time. Set aside a specific time each day when everyone in the family reads their book silently. This not only encourages reading but also creates a cozy and bonding atmosphere.

4. Organize a Book Club

Gather a group of your child’s friends and start a summer book club. Assign a book for everyone to read and schedule regular meetups to discuss the story, characters, and themes. This will enhance their reading comprehension and encourage social interaction.

5. Introduce Digital Reading 

While digital devices can be a source of distraction, they can also provide access to a vast array of ebooks and audiobooks. Use technology to your advantage by allowing your child to choose from digital reading options.

6. Lead by Example 

Children often emulate the behaviours they see in adults. Demonstrate your love for reading by setting aside time for your reading sessions. Seeing you immersed in a book will inspire and motivate them to do the same.

One of the most important factors in building a reading-positive culture for kids is having a role model who reads for pleasure. For instance, 57% of children who read often have parents who encourage daily reading; however, only 16% of children who are infrequent readers have parents who encourage reading. Source.

Interested in more tips and tricks to engage your child with summer reading? Check out these summer reading tips.

Get Reading for Pleasure This Summer

Summer is the perfect time to reverse the decline in kids’ pleasure reading. By creating a nurturing environment, setting goals, and making reading an enjoyable experience, we can reignite their love for books. 

Encouraging children to read for pleasure benefits their academic growth, nurtures their imagination, and broadens their horizons. So let’s embrace the summer as an opportunity to bring back the joy of reading into our children’s lives.

Remember, there is always time to start a summer reading tradition!

Get Summer Reading Help At Any Age

Reading is the foundation of all learning. So, it makes sense that when kids struggle to read, reading is anything but pleasurable. Help your child build stronger reading skills with a reading program at Oxford Learning. Our reading programs help students of all ages build a strong foundation of reading skills to launch them into a world of reading for life.

Contact a location near you to learn more.

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