My dad looked like the proudest grandpa in the world as he told my mom and me about spending the afternoon with my seven-year-old niece. He told us about how she had completely wowed him by teaching him something new about orca whales— specifically, the methods they use to hunt. “I just don’t know how she knew all of that,” my dad said. And then my mom revealed the secret to my niece’s whale knowledge: my sister had assigned her children book reports over the summer to keep them school-ready for the coming year. As a seven-year-old, I probably would have considered this idea cruel and unusual punishment. As an adult and education advocate, all I could think was, “My sister is a genius!”
And my niece isn’t the only proof that summer reading programs are working. School Library Journal recently released some interesting results about the proven effects of summer reading.