I am shocked to discover that summer reading is good for kids. The New York Times recently ran this article about a study of elementary students who were given free books to take home over the summer. Half were allowed to choose from various age-appropriate fiction and non-fiction picks while the other group were given puzzle and activity books. After three such summers, the children who had access to extra reading practice during the summer scored far higher in reading than their puzzle working peers.
This is doubly significant because the children were allowed to pick their books AND how much they read over the summer. In other words, even seemingly schlocky books can be the avenue to choice (not parent or teacher forced) reading. Once kids get the knack for reading as fun, the sky is the proverbial limit. Those of us who might want to impose our own literary standards need to sit on our collective thumbs.