Many studies have established that students fall behind due to the summer break. Students’ minds are not engaged and they tend to fall backwards by at least a month of instruction. Studies also have establish that summer reading programs offset this extended break. Reading is one leisure activity that improves students’ academics by improving reading skills. Students gain many benefits from free reading such as improved vocabulary, concentration and content analysis. Free reading gives students’ confidence as a reader because they are reading material they enjoy. Some studies have shown that summer reading benefits students equally to reading instruction. A study by Lin, Shin & Krashen, (2007) is about one immigrant student Sophia. The summer reading program improved her readings skills. This study went one-step further. Sophia’s reading improved over the summer as shown by a fall standardized test (Lin, Shin, & Krashen, 2007).
However, in the spring after a year of school, her reading level dropped below her peers (Lin, Shin, & Krashen, 2007). These results indicate her reading gains over the summer actually made up for the reading loss she had during the school year (Lin, Shin, & Krashen, 2007). During school, Sophia did not have free time to read and this affected her reading gains (Lin, Shin, & Krashen, 2007). This study is a strong indicator on how import a summer reading program is for English Language Learners. It also demonstrates how free reading affects academic pursuits. Free reading is just as important as other schoolwork. It is especially important to read over the summer. This leisure activity not only combats loss during the break but it can provide gains to advance student performance as it did for Sophia.
Lin, S., Shin, F., & Krashen, S. (2007). Sophia’s choice: Summer reading. Knowledge Quest, 35(3), 52-55.