It’s that time of year again: Summer Reading! For the third year in a row, the LPL will be hosting a Summer Reading Kick-Off on Saturday, June 10th. Join us outside the library at Veterans Memorial Park from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for games, raffles, music, entertainment, and of course, to join our summer reading clubs for all ages. This year’s theme, “Build a Better World,” incorporates construction, engineering, architecture, environmentalism, kindness, and giving. In this spirit, let’s explore some of the ways summer reading builds a better YOU.
No More “Summer Slide!”
This is a big deal for children and parents. The school year ends and most kids spend the next two and a half months running through sprinklers, playing video games, and eating popsicles. Practicing long division? Not likely. Vocabulary flashcards? I doubt those are getting packed for road trips to the Grand Canyon. Studies have shown that summer slide, when students forget what they’ve learned between school years, is real and can be prevented by, drum roll please…SUMMER READING! Scholastic recommends that reading as little as six books during the summer can prevent struggling readers from regressing. Even reading something out loud every day, whether it’s a magazine article, a book, or even the back of a cereal box, makes a difference. I am of the opinion that summer vacation is a somewhat sacred experience; kids should be kids, and summer is the time for Popsicle-stained lips, not flashcards. Reading for fun is a great compromise between parents and children. It gets the job done without feeling like schoolwork.
Reading Outdoors Improves Your Health
Reading on the beach, reading on your back patio, reading on a park bench…There’s nothing quite like bringing a good book outside with you. I love reading outside during the summer. Of course, reading on the beach feels like the ultimate summer ritual if you’re an adult. The good news is that all this reading among nature is good for your health. Researchers have shown that nature improves brain function and mood. With the sun shining, the birds chirping, and a book in your hand, you’re not only enjoying a story, but you’re also bettering your own wellness.
I think by now we all know that the only way to grow as a person is to challenge ourselves to try new things. This could mean trying new, big things: new jobs, new homes, new relationships. Even small changes, like trying new foods or new hairstyles, can give us that little boost of inspiration and confidence to make those larger adjustments to better our lives. If you want to start small, why not select a reading challenge for the summer? Every January, I link to the latest reading challenge from PopSugar, but there are many others out there to choose from. BookBub collected several of these challenges, including a Wizarding World Book Club, Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge, a Reading for Growth Challenge, and more. Once you begin to step outside your reading comfort zone, you’re likelier to keep challenging yourself in other areas of your life.
Unlike the winter, when cold temperatures and freezing snow convince us to stay indoors and hibernate, summer temperatures beckon us out into the world. It’s like a switch gets flipped and we activate, hyped up on sunshine and barbecued hot dogs. When that knee-jerk feeling of “I must see and be seen” kicks in, you might not always think of reading as a social activity. Unless you’re reading aloud or listening to an audiobook with a partner or a group, the process of reading is actually solitary. However, being a reader opens you up to an immense amount of connection with other readers. You are automatically part of a special club. You’ve read Eleanor & Park? So have I! Let’s talk about it! You also hated Sweetbitter, unlike practically every critic? Let’s talk about it! Join a book club and you have a built-in social circle. Better yet, join the LPL’s summer reading club and you will be part of a GIANT book club. Reading brings us closer together emotionally and even teaches us empathy and how to better relate to one another. Not only are you socializing more, but you’re learning how to socialize better.
We hope to see you on Saturday, June 10th. If you can’t make it, be sure to stop by another day and join one of our summer reading clubs. If you’re going to be reading anyway, why not win some prizes and maybe make some friends along the way?