By Cori Cagide, Associate Publicist
As kids most of us were assigned the dreaded required summer reading list sometime towards the end of the school year. I remember choosing which of the three uninteresting books I wanted to read, and preparing to procrastinate as long as possible before having to read and do the assigned project that went along with it. Actually, that’s a lie – I was a goody-two-shoes and always finished my summer reading project within a week after the school year ended, and didn’t think about it again until the first day of school. However, I know at least 90 percent of my friends held off until the very last minute to get it done.
Shouldn’t that say something about the required material? Particularly with the younger generations. If we want them to read, we have to give them some incentive. I’m not sure how much things have changed since I was in grammar school, but I remember having very few options to choose from, and having to get extra creative in the project portion of the assignment in order to peak my interest.
I recently worked on a title called “Reading Unbound: Why Kids Need to Read What They Want – And Why We Should Let Them.” It’s important to keep kids both engaged and excited about reading – we all know that. While it requires no effort on the parent’s part to get a kid excited in reading the Harry Potter series, I’m sure every parent reading this has struggled with getting their children to read the required reading.
The main reason for required summer reading is to keep kids’ brains stimulated over the summer. What are some ways we can do that through reading and writing, while still keeping kids enthusiastic about the books they’re reading? I think the best way to look at this is actually from an adult’s perspective.
According to an article on PsychologyToday.com, 42 percent of college graduates will never read a book again after graduating college. That, to me, as someone in the book industry, is a terrifying statistic. I happen to be surrounded by books on a day-to-day basis, and my work requires me to read all types of genres. In addition to my “required” work reading, I spend my commute reading for pleasure every day. So, why is it that so many adults, too, are getting turned off by reading? I’m sure after the immense amounts of academic reading required in college, we become bored with the same old material. So, what can we do, whether child, teen or adult, to make reading fun again?
Join a Book Club: According to a recent article in Huffington Post, Book Clubs are badass. Whatever your thoughts are on book clubs – change them. Whether you think that they’re all housewives reading 50 Shades of Gray or kids at a Barnes & Noble reading the newest YA-series, I promise you that’s not the case. There are book clubs for all different age groups, genres, and types of people – you just have to know where to look. (If you’re stuck, try Meetup.com). And book clubs make reading interesting. From picking names for the book club, to creating themes around your meetings, to the people you’ll meet, it puts a twist on the old opinions on book clubs and allows you to make them your own. If you feel like you’re alone, then think about this – It is estimated that over 5 million people in America belong to book clubs – that’s a much more calming statistic.
If you’re still having reservations on reading, because you think you don’t have enough time or you haven’t gotten over the ending to Hunger Games just yet, then now is the perfect time to change your mind. It’s summer, which means extra downtime, (hopefully) more flexible hours at work, and beach reading. Get a few recommendations from friends, peruse through GoodReads, check out book blogs, or just read a book that will be turning into a movie in the fall before it comes out! Whatever the case may be, find a reason unwind and read. Not only does it stimulate the brain activity, it’s also been known to increase happiness.