Encouraging summer reading is a fantastic way to keep your child’s mind active over the summer, promoting a positive summer activity that can be done virtually anywhere at any time.

Not only does it help children maintain their reading skills, it also helps prevent the dreaded summer slide. Known to cause a pronounced dip – or ‘slide’ in children’s reading skills, the summer slide can best be avoided with solid a summer reading program in place.

But what does a summer reading program actually entail? And do they really help children progress faster?

Studies suggest that they do, with children who read more demonstrating better fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Summer reading programs range from simply tracking the number of minutes read per day to specific summer reading lists and even activity sheets, incentive charts, and a skills overview that follows a set curriculum.

1. Summer Reading Beats Summer Slide:

Summer reading may not be a priority for your child, but you should make it a priority as a parent. This is because kids who read throughout the summer beat the summer slide. Summer reading is critical to your child’s ability to retain information learned earlier and develop critical thinking and knowledge skills for the coming school year. Children must read every day to maintain literacy skills and develop new skills.

2. Improves Emotional Intelligence:

Emotional intelligence is essential for your child because it helps them develop, maintain and enhance close relationships and friendships. In addition, they begin to understand people and things around them better, a skill that is important for academic success. Reading also stimulates children’s ability to understand their emotions safely. This skill makes it possible for them to understand feelings, handle adversity, and express emotions.

Reading further helps children to connect better with human experiences than simple observation. According to research, reading allows people to connect better with each other and accept each other’s emotions and thoughts. They also develop critical thinking skills by reading how different characters handle issues.

3. Reading Exercises the Brain:

While many people read for fun and enjoyment, science states that reading is a powerful workout for the brain. It increases intellectual stimulation and provides numerous mental health benefits. In addition, reading involves a complex network of circuits and brain signals: As a child’s reading skills improve, those networks become sophisticated and more robust. Students should therefore read to keep their brains in shape.

Just like people lose body muscles when they don’t exercise, a lack of reading causes a loss of literacy skills. Lack of reading during the summer causes students to lose up to two months of reading development. This process is referred to as summer learning loss or summer slide. Summer reading is not an activity to keep students busy during the vacation. Instead, it is a critical requirement to keep their brain alert and on their educational career track.

4. Broaden their Perspective:

Just like emotional intelligence, your child can improve their perspective of life and human experiences through reading about people with different characters and backgrounds from theirs. For example, reading books with characters of other races, family structures, interests, abilities, and beliefs can develop your child’s sense of inclusivity and cause them to embrace equality and diversity.

Children need to explore diverse reading materials and engage with text about different cultures and personalities. Doing so will improve their perspective on their surroundings and the world.

5. Summer Reading Builds Vocabulary:

A child who reads 20 minutes daily at home will come across approximately 1.8 million words annually. Besides coming across many new words, it is easier to learn vocabulary when reading a book than trying to memorize words from the dictionary since the words make sense within the context the child is reading. It is also easy to use words from a book later in a different context.

The more your child reads during the summer holiday, the more words they will be exposed to and learn. Consistent exposure to new terms, understanding their meaning and seeing the context they are used increases their mental dictionary. Your child will also have more words available in their writing and conversations. Reading more books will help them communicate effectively, allowing them to express their feelings and articulate their thoughts accurately. Indeed, many people attest that reading makes them better writers.

6. Reading Improves Memory:

Reading improves the concentration and memory of both young and older adults. Even though the brain is not a muscle, it still benefits from the frequent workout of reading. The body requires activity to build muscles; the brain requires exercise to strengthen memory. Reading causes humans to formulate a “mental map” of written text. The mental maps help students process words as they read and aid in memory and recall. A regular reading routine helps the brain in cognitive processes that lead to better memory functioning.

7. Reading Enhances Knowledge:

Reading is one of the most significant ways to acquire knowledge. The knowledge that students gain from reading is cumulative and increases exponentially. When your child develops a solid knowledge base during summer, it becomes easy to receive new knowledge and solve complex problems in the upcoming school year. Please encourage your child to read a wide range of materials during the summer break to expand their knowledge in varying subjects.

8. Develops Analytical Thinking Skills:

Are you still wondering if summer reading is beneficial to your child? Consider this! Summer reading improves humans’ analytical skills. Reading mystery novels can cause them to develop problem-solving skills. Reading stories causes students’ minds to keep guessing what will happen next. Your child’s brain subconsciously trains to think smartly and become more analytical by reading more books. You can expect them to benefit from analytical thinking in their academic and personal lives.

9. Reading Facilitates Better Writing:

Reading more helps students to develop better writing skills. Through reading, one learns more vocabulary and how to write better sentences. Not only will your child learn to write academic material, but they will also learn to express their thoughts in writing.

10. Reading Improves Concentration:

One of the most significant challenges for the brain today is processing too much information. Research shows that ability to pay attention has dropped down to as low as eight seconds due to exposure to a lot of visual communication. So many things today, including web images, social media, advertisements, and phones, demand our attention. Thankfully we can regain our ability to concentrate by reading a book.

Your child can’t learn without focus or concentration. It would be best to encourage them to read since reading trains the brain to work and concentrate better. Reading is an activity that requires undivided attention. It would help if you used it to improve your children’s ability to focus in the classroom and beyond.

Below are books to add to your summer library list, organized by kid-favorite topics: the ocean, animals, dinosaurs, bugs, and outer space. You’ll find stories about inspiring scientists, brave kids, fact-filled encyclopedias, folk tales, and books that use these topics to make counting fun.


Kids’ Ocean Books That Feel Like a Day at the Beach

These ocean-themed books introduce kids to animated aquatic animals, a groundbreaking scientist, how it feels to try something new, and the story of kids in one South Carolina town who volunteered to help save sea turtles.

Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle, for ages 0 – 3 years

Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews, illustrated by Ian Wallace, for ages 5 – 9 years

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating, illustrated by Marta Álvarez Miguéns, for ages 4 – 8 years

The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen, for ages 0 – 4 years

Big Book of the Blue by Yuval Zommer, for ages 3 – 5 years

The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor by Joanna Cole, illustrated by Bruce Degen, for ages 4 – 8 years


Animal Books for Kids Who Love Fur, Feathers, and Fins

From family dogs to nocturnal owls and a family of penguins, books about animals are perennial kid favorites, and there’s one for every stage and interest. Fables starring animals with big personalities and relatable relationships help kids learn social-emotional skills. In contrast, the sheer number of animals on Earth means they are a great way to learn about the alphabet. In the HOMER app, find animal story videos kids can read along with like Duck on a Bike and Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type.

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle, for ages 0 – 4 years

Grumpy Monkeyby Suzanne Lang, illustrated by Max Lang, for ages 3 – 7 years

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae, illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees, for ages 2 – 9 years

The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney, for ages 1 – 8 years

Some Petsby Angela DiTerlizzi, Illustrated Brendan Wenzel, for ages 3 – 6 years

Little Owl’s Nightby Divya Srinivasan, for ages 0 – 3 years


Delightful Dinosaur Books for Kids That Are Larger Than Life

Suppose there is a future paleontologist in your house. In that case, books from National Geographic and The Smithsonian are go-to’s for dino-related facts. Still, don’t sleep on books illustrating the funny friendships and laugh-out-loud bedtime antics of T. rexes. For dinosaur stories toddlers and preschoolers can listen to, HOMER dinosaur story videos include favorites like Danny the Dinosaur and Pterodactyl Tuxedo.

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs by Catherine D. Hughes and Franco Tempesta, for ages 4 – 8 years

My Visit to the Dinosaurs by Aliki, for ages 4 – 8 years

Dinosaur Dance! by Sandra Boynton, for ages 1 – 5 years

How Do Dinosaurs Count To Ten? by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mark Teague, for ages 3 – 5 years

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mark Teague, for ages 3 – 5 years

Colorful World of Dinosaurs by Matt Sewell, for ages 5 – 12 years

Dinosaur A-Z: For Kids Who Really Love Dinosaurs! by Roger Priddy, for ages 3 – 6 years

Bug Books for Kids Who Can’t Get Enough Creepy Crawlies

Bugs are fascinating for little learners—colorful bugs are easy for them to spot and even hold, whether you’re in the countryside or the city. The books in this list use bugs as a vehicle to practice counting, explore backyards, learn about classic folk tales, lean into the creepiest bug facts, and learn how to be a good (not grouchy!) friend. For bug stories that don’t require a trip to the library, check out the HOMER library of bug story videos! Kids can read along while learning about their favorite insects.

Big Book of Bugs by Yuval Zommer, for ages 3 – 5 years

Insect Detective: Read and Wonder by Steve Voake, illustrated by Charlotte Voake, for ages 4 – 8 years

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, for ages 0 – 4 years

A Beetle Is Shy by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long, for ages 5 – 8 years

Hi! Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold, for ages 4 – 8 years (also available as a read-aloud story in the Learn & Grow app!)

Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti by Gerald McDermott, for ages 4 – 7 years

Are You a Bee?by Judy Allen, illustrated by Tudor Humphries, for ages 5 – 8 years

In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming, for ages 0 – 4 years

Space Books for Kids That Will Take Them to Another World

Books about outer space invite kids to wonder, dream big, and develop a love of science, math, and technology. These books dig into the mysteries about other planets, phases of the moon, stories of brilliant astronauts and engineers behind NASA discoveries, and they make counting down a blast!

Our Stars Paperback by Anne Rockwell, for ages 4 – 7 years

The Mysteries of the Universe: Discover the Best-Kept Secrets of Space by Will Gater, for ages 7 – 9 years

My First Book of Planets: All About the Solar System for Kids by Bruce Betts PhD, for ages 3 – 5 years

The Ultimate Book of Space by Anne-Sophie Baumann, illustrated by Olivier Latyck, for ages 5 – 8 years

The Astronaut With a Song for the Stars: The Story of Dr. Ellen Ochoa by Julia Finley Mosca, illustrated by Daniel Rieley, for ages 5 – 10 years

How to be an Astronaut and Other Space Jobs by Dr. Sheila Kanani, illustrated by Sol Linero, for ages 5 -9 years

On the Launch Pad: A Counting Book About Rockets by Michael Dahl, illustrated by Derrick Alderman and Denise Shea, for ages 4 – 8 years


How can I make reading part of summer fun?

Explore your local library:  Visit your local library with your child to check magazines and books that they have never read before. Many libraries have book clubs, reading contests, and summer reading programs even for young readers. In addition, the libraries may offer rewards such as free books for kids who complete their summer reading lists. You can also give your child the privilege of owning a library card and checking their books.

Read when traveling:  Ensure that your child has their favorite books when traveling on a car, bus or plane. You can read aloud together if you are not driving. You can also opt for audiobooks to listen to together as a family while traveling.

Please encourage them to create a Book: Pick favorite parts of the summer, such as the time you spent with the family in the pool, with friends, in a camp, or playing soccer. Then, have your child create pictures from magazines or draw them paste them onto paper to make a book, and encourage them to write a short description on each piece.

Write Letters: Your child does not have to travel away from the family to write letters. Instead, you can encourage them to send letters, postcards, emails, and letters to family and relatives. Ask friends and relatives to be your child’s pen pal to keep them writing.

Encourage a Reading Routine: It does not matter how busy your summer is; always set aside time for reading, and make it a routine. Please read daily with your children, whether before bedtime, in a quiet afternoon, or in the park. Importantly, make the reading session fun, and they will look out for the moment!