When summer comes around, we don’t always add learning to our list of summer activities. But reading outside of school or work can decrease stress, better prepare students for the upcoming school year, and improve test scores.

Research shows that summer reading positively effects student learning. A three-year study of third-graders by Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Studies found that students who participate in summer reading programs improved their reading scores, placing them 52 Lexile points above those who did not participate in summer reading programs. 

The study, which also surveyed teachers and librarians, also found that teachers identified summer readers as more confident in the classroom and more willing to read. 

A landmark study by New York University sociologist Barbara Heyns found that summer reading directly influenced increased vocabulary scores in sixth and seventh-grade students. 

The ability for a child to be able to choose what he or she reads is another advantage of summer reading. According to Stephen Krashen, author of The Power of Reading: Insights from the Research, “self-selected, voluntary” reading provides some of the largest increases in reading achievement. 

Teens increase their knowledge with summer reading as well. According to the National Writing Project website, good writing is a result of good reading. Seeing how different authors express their thoughts, say literacy experts Drs. Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts, leads to better writing skills. 

Recreational reading can also result in higher scores on the verbal section of college admission tests. “No other activity builds the vocabulary and comprehension skills need to do well on these tests as reading,” say Drs. Gisler and Eberts. 

Adults can also reap benefits from reading. British researchers found that reading for just six minutes decreased participants’ stress levels by more than two-thirds, or 68%.

The rewards of the mental activity required by reading reported Lauren Dzubow in a June 2008 article for O: The Oprah Magazine, include “keeping your memory sharp, your learning capacity nimble, and your mind basically hardier as you age.”

The Naperville Public Library’s Summer Reading Program runs June 3 – July 28.

This year’s theme is “Have Book, Will Travel” and Naperville readers of any age can participate and earn prizes for completing each level of the program. Summer readers will also have the chance to win raffle prizes. 

Non-Naperville residents can participate in the program for a nominal fee of $5.

Participants can register at any Children’s or Teen/Adult Services desk at any library location, or online at: http://www.naperville-lib.org/content/srp

The Children’s and Teen/Adult reference staff at Naperville Public Library are ready to help you find your summer reads. Our expert librarians will also create customize reading lists based on your reading preferences and interests. Access the Matchbook questionnaire at http://www.naperville-lib.org/content/matchbook#node-3648.

The library’s website also has monthly themed booklists, online reviews, and staff picks. 

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May 31, 2013 - 05:00

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