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Guest Blog Post – How Can Reading in the Summer Build Bridges for Boys?

Throughout this school year, we will feature guest bloggers to share different perspectives on or experiences with boys education on our Head of School blog. Our next guest blogger is Kaitlin Holy, Regis Librarian, who offers suggestions on how to engage your son with reading experiences over the summer.

Summer reading is essential! Every student experiences the ‘summer slide,’ but adding summer reading into your summer vacation plans can promote fluency, comprehension, and learning to set your son up for success in August. Boys who read in the summer are better prepared when they start the next school year because reading helps to make the transition to the next grade easier. Subsequently, this builds boys’ confidence and reduces the stress and anxiety associated with a new school year. Summer reading even helps to maintain the all-important routine and schedule (which might be something boys resist at first because who doesn’t want lots of free time?) and ends up being a huge benefit to them because they know what to expect each and every day during the summer. According to the Gurian Institute:

Literacy matters. Reading, writing, and speaking intersect with everything in life: character development, emotional intelligence, and physical fitness. Reading is essential for successful brain development in children, and stories help build character and emotional development.  There are few careers in which literacy skills – reading, writing, critical thinking, articulation of position in words, and even anecdotal storytelling – are not essential for success.

The Gurian Institute further substantiates the importance for boys to read by noting that there is a “literacy gap” in the United States that is demonstrated in standardized testing that shows that boys are lower performing than girls in literacy testing and academic grades. Encouraging boys to read in the summer can help to bridge these gaps in addition to the success they’ll experience at the start of the next school year. Just one positive reading experience can foster a desire to read more, which will inevitably result in increased vocabulary, improved fluency, and it will even create a better writer!  

There are many ways you can promote reading with your son during the summer and beyond:

  • Establish a DEAR time: Drop Everything and READ! Set a family reading time daily. Sit with your children and read silently for a fixed period of time. Get comfortable, put the technology away, and embrace old fashioned page turning!
  • FREE Public Library App: Download Overdrive or Libby and sign up for a FREE digital library card. Your son has access to FREE audiobooks, eBooks, magazines, graphic novels, cookbooks, travel guides, road maps, movies, and more. These are easily transportable on your iPad for summer road trips. Listening to books as a family helps your son develop better auditory and visualization skills.
  • Ask questions: Improve his READING SKILLS by asking questions such as 
  • Tell me what’s happening in the story? 
  • Why did the main character do that?  
  • How would you choose differently? 
  • Where is this story taking place?  
  • What do you predict will happen next? Etc.
  • Summer book club: Create a club with friends, let the boys choose the book, celebrate with a party to discuss the book, and celebrate reading. Many authors’ websites have suggested questions, games, drawing activities, and more. 
  • Create a competition: Boys love a competition. Make a reading game and find ways to capitalize on their innate sense of competition to promote more reading.  
  • Embrace All Forms of Reading: Boys love non-fiction, graphic novels, comic books, and magazines. Embrace all forms of reading material. According to Dr. Stephen D. Krashen, “reading just one comic book a day = 500,000 words a year!” 
  • Reading Lists – Need book ideas? Mrs. Holy suggests reading lists from: HAISLN, Texas Library Association, and Lectio Book Awards.

We can’t wait to welcome you back in August and hear what great books you read this summer!

Kaitlin Holy Regis Librarian

Kaitlin serves as Librarian. She holds an M.Ed. In Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston and a B.A. in Psychology from Villanova University. Prior to joining the faculty at Regis, she worked in sales and marketing for several years, then transitioned to education as Librarian at St. Edward's Catholic School in Spring. She enjoys sharing her love of reading with all of Regis' students.