why and how to keep children
reading this summer

The school year has ended, but be sure your children don’t take a break from reading and learning this summer. According to research from Scholastic, the world’s largest children’s book publisher, one in five children aged 12 to 17 and one in five kids in low-income families did not read any books last summer. Here are three great reasons why you should promote summer reading and learning with your children:

  1. Reading as a leisure activity is the best predictor of comprehension, as well as vocabulary and reading speed (i.e., fluency).
  2. Children who read at least four books over the summer perform higher on reading comprehension tests in the fall than their peers who read only one or no books over the summer.
  3. Learning or reading skill loss that occurs during the summer widens the achievement gap year after year between more proficient and less proficient students. By the time a struggling reader reaches middle school, summer reading loss can lead to a two-year lag in reading achievement. 

So, make learning and reading a priority in your family this summer, and make it fun. There are incredible, free opportunities around the city and online. 


Summer Reading and Learning Opportunities for Children and Families


1.    Register your child for Houston Public Library’s 2017 Summer Reading Program, called Game On ! Children can earn badges and prizes for their reading. To learn more about Game On! and discover other fun events going on at a Houston public library near you, visit their website.

2.    Register your child for Harris County Public Library’s 2017 Reading Program, called Build a Better World. Children can earn points every time they read or visit one of the library locations for an event. Every 100 points, children reach a new level and win a prize. To learn more about Build a Better World and discover other fun events going on at a Harris County public library near you, visit their website.

3.    Register your child for Houston Area Urban League’s Summer Read Camp, Camp Adventure!, a two-week long camp, free of charge, taking place at Atherton and Bastian Elementary Schools. The camp will serve children from 1st through 5th grades and will include an array of interactive reading, writing, speaking and critical thinking activities for the children. Additionally, the Houston Symphony will provide Community Embedded Musicians (CEMs) to support the camps and will enhance learning in our youngest campers with skills in phonological awareness, speech-in-noise perception, rhythm perception, auditory working memory, and recognition of sound patterns. To learn more about Camp Adventure!, call the Houston Area Urban League at (281) 220-6012.

4.    Register your child for iWRITE’s Creative Writing Camp with “i” The Guy, locations in Pearland and Spring Branch.  iWRITE Literacy Organization founder and children’s author, Melissa Williams, will be holding two 4-day Creative Writing and Illustration Camps. Campers will receive creative writing instruction, combined with exciting character development exercises and even an illustration lesson from illustrator Ryan Shaw. All campers will have a chance to enter their story for publication in the I Write Short Stories by Kids for Kids writing contest presented by iWRITE! To learn more about iWRITE’s summer camps, visit their website.

5.    Visit the Children’s Museum of Houston for Free Family Nights. On Thursday evenings from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., all admission fees for the Museum are waived. The Children's Museum of Houston delivers innovative learning opportunities for children from birth through 12 years of age. In addition, every Thursday at 5:15, 6 and 7 p.m. the Museum offers story time and a free book giveaway. To learn more about Free Family Night or to discover more fun events at the Museum, visit their website.

6.    Join Camp Wonderopolis , hosted by the National Center for Family Learning, which is a free, online summer-learning destination full of fun, interactive STEM and literacy-building topics boosted by Maker experiments. 

7.    Participate in Barnes & Noble’s Summer Reading Program, which encourages children to keep a journal of their reading and earn a free book as a reward for their accomplishments.

8.    Sign up for Scholastic’s Summer Reading Challenge, a free, online program that enables children to track the minutes they spend reading this summer. Children can “unlock” activities and earn rewards.