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Research shows that children tend to lose ground in academics when they completely disengage for a period of time… like a summer vacation.

Very few children crave a good book when they can be biking, swimming, playing with friends, or driving parents crazy by telling them that they are bored. Can children’s digital books make reading more attractive to kids?

Psychology Today reported that children can actually lose one to three months progress over the summer, with math and spelling suffering the most. Disadvantaged youth suffer the most, as they have the least access to resources for reading during the summer months.

Mixed Feelings About Using Children’s Audio Books

Child readingI have mixed feelings about using audio books to bridge the gap over the summer for my kids. I think the use depends on the goals. For example, my youngest, a very reluctant reader, is a terrible speller. I think he needs to focus on the written word to expand his vocabulary and hone his reading comprehension and by extension his writing skills.

Both Print and Audio Perhaps?

My oldest will start college in the fall. He has a summer reading assignment: The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan. As a freshman, he will be involved in a discussion of the book as part of the introduction to the college experience. The book links four human desires with plants that satisfy them. The audio book is narrated by Scott Brick and is widely available.

I have purchased the paperback for him so he will have it for reference for the discussions, but I am considering purchasing the audio version for him to listen to on his iPod this summer. By providing the audio alternative, he can carry out his reading while hanging out by the pool or taking a walk. This might be more appealing to him.

The difficult part about using audio is when a project is involved, is being able to go back to reference a certain fact or passage.

Student Projects

The difficult part about using audio is when a project is involved, is being able to go back to reference a certain fact or passage. My middle son hasn’t brought up the subject of summer reading. I expect he will have an assignment, but will hold onto it until I drag it out of him. Either that or he will be frantically reading it over the last two days of summer vacation.

Depending on the assignment and whether there is any kind of project or associated work, he may opt for audio as well. The difficult part in using audio books when a project is involved, is being able to go back to reference a certain fact or passage. That is more easily accomplished with a traditional print book, or even an eBook.

Will your children read over the summer? Will they read print, digital, or audio? How do you feel about it? Visit our Discussion Forum and tell me your thoughts!

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