Summer months for children need to be a time for relaxation, fun, learning the attributes of work, and of course no school. It can also be a time when reading skills are lost if students do not participate to a small extent in summer reading programs. Especially for younger students, reading is a skill that grows with practice. Summer reading not only helps to maintain reading abilities, but it can even significantly improve these skills. A recent study by Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, found that students who participate in summer reading programs are 52 Lexile points ahead of their peers who do not. (A Lexile is a measure about either an individual’s reading ability or the difficulty of a text.) In school, students are taught most of the time to read for information. During summer months reading should be a time of reading for fun. Yes, reading can be full of fun and enjoyment for children. When one is reading for fun, it can be a time where the reader is in a new and exciting world that changes with each book that he/she reads. In an article by the University of Tennessee’s Reading Center, several tips are listed for helping children maintain their reading skill level during the summer months. The first suggestion is to take your children to the library on a regular basis. Encourage them to be part of a reading program sponsored by the local library. Morgan County Library sponsors a reading program throughout the summer that can be fun and exciting for students as well as adults. Be a good example and read at the same time with your children. Mountain Green Elementary School library also has a reading program for students and parents. For more information call Chris Coffman at (801) 876-3041. The second suggestion is that children do better if they have a choice on what they want to read. Let your child pick out their own books and reading materials, with a little guidance of course. Studies show that students are more motivated to read when they have a choice and a voice in what they read. Remember that reading is reading. Magazines and newspapers can also be a great source for children. Magazines that have specific themes on cheerleading, gymnastics, sports, hobbies, animals, skateboarding and music can start a new interest/hobby for many young children. Series books such as, Frog and Toad, Captain Underpants, Magic Tree House, Geronimo Stilton, are a few of books that may seem simplistic and easy to parents, but they can give the young child entertainment while building the confidence of reading. If you are buying books go with the paperbacks. Visit second hand stores, garage sales, and close outs at retail stores for discounted books. Paperbacks will soften the blow to your pocket book when the dog chews on the pages! The third suggestion is to read with your children. Take turns reading from the same book. Find books that have a CD or cassette included, and follow along in the book as it is read. Books on tape can be a wonderful idea for those long hours in a car during the summer vacation when kids are asking, Are we there yet? Take a break this summer from busy activities and enjoy the quietness and the imagination of a good book with your child. Read_.it does a body good!