Studies show that children can lose up to two months’ of reading performance over the summer months, and research suggests that the unstructured activity of reading for fun will do more to keep children’s minds sharp and engaged than weeks of maths and science holiday homework.
Yvonne Krishnan, high school librarian at St Joseph's Institution International (SJI), says: “It’s important for children of all ages to continue reading over the summer holiday so that children of all ages can retain knowledge and skills that they have learned in school.
“It helps to strengthen their reading skills and build up their knowledge and therefore maintain their literacy skills. Regular reading during the summer also helps them keep pace and not fall behind their peers.”
Kim Klein, librarian at Stamford American International School (SAIS) adds: “There are many reasons to read… to learn something new, to keep reading skills sharp, and also to dream, to laugh, to wonder, to grow! That is why we invite our students and their families to read over the holiday.
“The more students read, the more proficient they become at reading and writing. Reading research supports summer reading as a tool that helps maintain gains achieved through the previous school year. We recommend students, based on interest, read a variety of books over the summer including fiction, non-fiction and mother-tongue.”
There’s growing awareness of why reading really matters. According to research from the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report 2019, 80% of children aged six to 17 years agree that summer reading will help them during the school year. The survey of students in the US by the global children’s publisher also found that, on average, children read eight books over the summer – but this varies widely by age.
Whether you’re heading to the bookshop or the library, you’ll find a wide selection of books targeted at children of different age groups. A great starting point is the shortlisted titles in the 2019-20 Red Dot Book Awards; this annual initiative is run by The International School Libraries Network (ISLN) in Singapore. Books are chosen by a committee of teacher-librarians in Singapore, and eight titles in each category were announced in June.