By Samantha Swaney

English Teacher

Heritage High School

Raise your hand if you and your children are irritated about summer reading…you are not alone!

One of my least favorite end-of-the-year rituals in high school is the annual signing of the roster as evidence that each child received his summer reading instructions. Every year, students ask if we’re “doing this again,” and every year teachers explain that yes, we are, and this is why it’s good for you.

By that time of the school year, it’s hard for us to make summer reading sound at least as appetizing as liver. Just eat it. It’s good for you! The thing is, reading is really good for the students. But what if I told you it could be good for your family as well? 

  1. Reading aloud to or with your child can create powerful opportunities to connect, at any age. Some of the best conversations teachers have with your children happen when something they can relate to happens to a character in the story. Also, when something happens to the character that they don’t understand, this also opens up the opportunity for conversation.
  2. Reading aloud together is a great way for parents or older siblings to model fluency, vocabulary pronunciation, and an appreciation for education.
  3. Studies have shown that sustained, silent (no music, no television) reading times have a positive impact on the body. Silent reading actually helps the body’s ability to deal with stress, helps combat dementia, and even burns calories!  

So consider holding your first Family Book Night as a way to bond as a family and encourage your child to complete his/her summer reading. Make popcorn, throw pallets of quilts around the living room and set the clock for 25 minutes. Change it up for a weekly routine. Sometimes everyone reads from one book, while other times each person has his own choice.

In the end, summer reading will be one of the first things assessed when your child returns to school. Tackling the assignment together as a family could also have the effect of lifting at least one source of anxiety your student might be feeling about heading back to school, and that’s something every parent cares about! If you’re not sure about your child’s assignment, go to for more information! Look for the summer reading tab at the top menu.