Take a Summer Break — NOT a Reading Break!

Create a reading space that makes it fun to read.

Startling statistics are evidence that third grade reading is critical to a child’s education and future success. The significance of reading for young children cannot be under-estimated, and especially as they enter third grade.

Studies conducted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation have proven that children who are not proficient readers by the time they reach third grade are FOUR times less likely to graduate from high school by the age of 19! That is compared to children who read proficiently by 3rd grade.

The study spans three decades of research and one important finding is that 3rd grade is a pivotal point in a child’s education. This is the point when children start shifting from learning to read and really start reading in all areas of their lives. They must be able to apply all of the reading skills they have learned at this point.

Other startling statistics from the study include:

  1. 23% of children with lowest reading skills in 3rd grade (of the study groups) never graduated from high school or failed to finish on time.
  2. 33% of children with the lowest reading scores accounted for about 63% of all children who failed to graduate from high school — while only 4% of proficient readers did not graduate.
  3. Children living in poverty and not reading proficiently by 3rd grade are 3 times more likely to drop-out of school or fail to graduate than those who have never been in a poverty or poor-living situation. Children of poor families face even higher odds of not graduating if they cannot read well by 3rd grade.

Summer Break — NOT Reading Break!

This information is especially timely given summer break is looming around the corner, and studies have proven that in the summer, children lose a lot of what they learned in the previous year. Keeping children engaged in reading all summer is critical for ongoing success and to help them reach their full potential. Book clubs, libraries, local schools, and many other groups offer lots of reading opportunities over the summer. Check with your child’s school to find out what’s available and encourage reading in every way possible over the summer.

As parents and grandparents, we have a unique opportunity to influence reading skills — from the time a child is born. Many parents start reading to children even before they are born. Studies have shown that reading to infants routinely has a profound effect on their ability to read later in life and it encourages them with lifelong habits of reading.

Encourage Reading

There are many ways to encourage children to read. Some children may need more help than others.

  • The University of Richmond offers summer reading programs for children from 4 years old through college age, and even for adults. Visit their website to see what they have to offer.
  • Learning RX is an example of a program that is especially designed to help children overcome learning challenges, and that includes reading. College Nannies & Tutors also offer excellent services to help children excel in school.
  • You can also make reading fun by creating a special reading space in your home, making it cheerful and comfortable. Surround the area with age-appropriate books and props that encourage reading. Invite friends over for a “reading party” where they share favorite books and enjoy special treats. Whatever it takes to engage your child in reading is worth the time and effort.
  • Local public libraries offer lots of summer reading programs.
  • Read Aloud Virginia is an excellent resource.

Reading is fun and it’s important to help children understand that it opens up a whole new world for them. This encourages them to read and when they see adults read, it also motivates them to read. Set a great example for your children this summer by reading with them. It’s an investment in their future!