ADL Austin Suggests Summer Reading for Students of All Ages
Summer is the perfect time to nurture reading for enjoyment. With a more flexible and relaxed schedule free of homework and tests, young people, whether they are 5 or 15 years old, can read what they want, explore new interests and visit unknown places. In addition, regular reading for pleasure is one way to prevent the “summer slide,” the loss of academic achievement that often happens when kids are off from school for summer break.
For children, reading books can create lasting impressions. In particular, multicultural and anti-bias books have the power to instill empathy, expose children to unknown people and places, build self-esteem by telling stories that reflect children’s life experiences and inspire action to change the world.
There are many ways to make summer reading a fun experience for the whole family. Help your child find a cozy place to read by discovering a special reading spot—a small nook or tent in their room, an outside space or a special place in the library or bookstore.
Read yourself to model for them that reading brings pleasure over one’s lifetime. Better yet, create a family book club and read a book together and talk about it.
Let your child choose their own books but be sure to help them by identifying books on their level and stories that reflect their passions. If you need suggestions, ask their teacher or a librarian.
Make a consistent time to read each day.
Take advantage of the resources in your community. The American Library Association reports that 95 percent of public libraries offer summer reading programs. Barnes and Noble, BookPeople and many other local bookstores offer similar programs.
Even if your children read on their own, read aloud every once in a while before bed, in the park or on a special trip.
Most importantly, make reading fun—take books on outings, celebrate the completion of a book by making cupcakes and discussing it or invite a friend over for an afternoon read-a-thon.
Books Matter is ADL’s online directory of over 800 children’s and young adult books focusing on diversity, bias, bullying and social justice. The Books Matter directory includes books about people, identity and culture; that challenge gender norms; about being an ally; that tell stories of racial pride; that share information about people with disabilities; with different kinds of families; that inspire social justice; and that explore similarities and differences. ■
Visit www.adl.org and view “Books Matter” under the education tab to see a full list of multicultural and anti-bias books. Locally, ADL Austin partners with BookPeople to bring our favorites from the Books Matter list to our community.