Steering your children to read books can be the best gift parents can give their children, suggest researchers.
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, faculty members Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen conducted a study to show a significantly higher level of reading achievement in students who received books for summer reading at home.
Every two or three years the kids who don't read in the summer fall a year behind the kids who do," Allington said.
They also found that pop-culture books were the favourites, featuring musicians, athletes and television and movie characters.
"We found our intervention was less expensive and less extensive than either providing summer school or engaging in comprehensive school reform," Allington said.
To get books into the hands of all children for summer reading, Allington and McGill-Franzen suggest keeping school libraries open during the summer break, sending books home with the students; and building on children's prior knowledge by providing books on pop culture and local animals and habitats.
The researchers' study will be published in the fall issue of Reading Psychology.