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The Scholastic Summer Reading program

Lizette Serrano, Vice President of Educational Marketing at Scholastic, answers our questions about summer reading.

The Scholastic Summer Reading program helps get books in the hands of kids, support social-emotional well-being, build skills and create community among kids. 

What are 2 or 3 tips for families to help them support summer learning for their kids?

Creating a welcoming environment for reading at home helps children develop a love of reading, and reinforces the importance of lifelong learning. Families can encourage summer reading in a number of ways. One great and effective way is to simply let kids choose the books that interest them most! The Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report™ shows the majority of kids say their favorite books are the ones that they have picked out themselves.

Another way is to make reading fun! Participating in a reading program helps to make the reading experience a joyful one, which is so very important in keeping kids motivated to read all summer long. One program kids can join is the fun, free and safe Scholastic Summer Reading program. Now through September 3rd, kids can join a community of readers, meet their favorite authors, read free e-books, watch read-aloud videos, play book-based games, and more—all while helping to increase access to books for their peers by starting and keeping Reading Streaks™ which will unlock a donation of 100,000 books from Scholastic distributed by Save the Children to kids with limited or no access to reading materials. You can learn more about the Scholastic Summer Reading program, here: www.scholastic.com/summer

You can also visit your local library or bookstore or attend a literacy event in your community or make a day trip out of it by traveling to another city or town. We know kids love selecting their own books, so take them to the library or bookstore where they can browse various genres and formats. While you are there, ask your bookseller or librarian about any upcoming literacy events. On your way home, strike up a conversation with your reader to talk about the day and which books they choose and why. This is a wonderful way to introduce a culture of reading and sharing in your family.

Often communities will host summer reading celebrations or recommend virtual events. For example, the Scholastic Summer Reading program offers weekly digital events with bestselling and award-winning authors including Sayantani DasGupta (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond series), Varian Johnson (Twins, The Great Greene Heist), Kelly Yang (Front Desk) and beloved author Ann M. Martin (The Baby-Sitters Club series).

During these events, kids will be able to chat with authors via a moderated chat function, learn behind-the-scenes information about their favorite books, and sometimes even write a short piece with the authors to spark their creative writing. How cool is that! 

Why and how is summer reading beneficial?

We can all agree the year has been challenging. We can also agree that summer reading is more important than ever. It offers a way to not only help kids maintain learning while school is out, but also to help foster social-emotional development, and help kids find themselves in a story and discover new places through reading! According to the Scholastic Teacher & Principal School Report, educators overwhelmingly agree (99%) that reading books for fun supports students’ academic success. The Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report also shows that 94% of parents agree that reading books over the summer will help their child during the school year.

One of my favorite stats debunks the commonly held belief that kids don’t enjoy summer reading, because they actually do! According to the same report, more than half (59%) of all kids ages 6–17 say “I really enjoy reading books over the summer.” I encourage all adults to try out on of these tips to help support a love a reading with a child this summer and beyond! There’s honestly nothing better than having a young reader share their review or thoughts on a book with you.  

The Scholastic Summer Reading program fosters community among kids, how does this help support social-emotional growth?

Reading is an inherently social activity. The Scholastic Summer Reading program is a safe and fun virtual community for students to come together around stories, while building their literacy skills and working towards increasing book access for their peers in rural communities nationwide. Bonding over books is a powerful way to support social-emotional growth as children learn about the world around them through stories. Stories help children understand people who are different from them, develop empathy, see themselves reflected, and so much more. This social-emotional support in connection with reading is critical because research from the Scholastic Teacher & Principal School Report tells us that 99% of educators agree that for students to reach their highest academic potential, their social-emotional needs must be met, and nearly all educators (98%) agree that literacy is critical to students’ health and emotional wellness.

Which was one of your go-to summer reading books when you were growing up? Why did you love it/come back to it?

This was hard to answer because there are so many books that come to mind! I would say now, in this moment, is my love of graphic novels. I’m preaching to the choir when I say graphic novels are real books! I loved reading the adventures of Archie, Veronica, Betty, and his friends. I also have fond memories of reading the Sunday comic strips like Garfield, Cathy, and finding myself in the family of For Better or For Worse by Lynn Johnston.

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