Utah Learns Summer Reading Challenge

Summer is a Great Time to Read!

Summer is a time of fun, but those months away from school can result in a loss of knowledge and reading ability. The Utah Learns Summer Learning Challenge raises awareness of the summer loss epidemic and provides access to a variety of free resources to support reading during the summer.

Children need to read books every day so they can keep and strengthen all the literacy skills they learned during the previous school year. If children don’t read over the summer, they can experience “summer reading loss” and start the next school year already behind where they should be.

The good news is that reading over the summer can prevent summer reading loss!

Challenge: Read every day for at least 15 to 30 minutes. Suggested goals:
Grades K-2 Students: read 10 books
Grades 3-5 Students: read 8 chapter books
Grades 6-HS Students: read 5 fiction books & 5 non-fiction books

Children should read something every day. Help children find a book that they are interested in and that is on their reading level. Using the “Find a Book” link can help! 

  • This website offers students over 160,000 books from which to choose.
  • Students can build custom reading lists based on their Lexile range and personal interests, and checks the availability of books at the local library.
  • The search tool includes a growing collection of English literary and informational books.

Let the child pick out age-appropriate books that they want to read.

  • Talk to your child about the books—ask questions about what might happen next, what they think about characters, why they like or don’t like something.
  • Read aloud to your children of any age—in any comfortable language! What your child learns in any language will help them in English as well.
  • Visit your local libraries. Librarians can help you find fun new books and support your child in reading all summer long.

Summer reading loss can be minimized. Research shows that children who read during the summer do not have to suffer this reading loss and may even show some growth in their reading ability.

Harvard University Professor Dr. James S. Kim has demonstrated that when students read a minimum of eight high interest, ability-appropriate books over the summer, their reading skills grow as much as students who attend summer school.

Citation: Kim, J.S. (2005). Project READS (Reading Enhances Achievement During Summer): Results from a Randomized Field Trial of a Voluntary Summer Reading Intervention. Paper presented at Princeton University, Education Research Section, November 7, 2005.

Reading and Families

A message from the State Superintendent, Dr. Martell Menlove, about reading and families:

The concept of “practice makes perfect” is definitely true in many academic areas, including reading. We know that students who read when not in school, especially during the summer months when school is not in session, are better readers than those who do not read during these times. We also know that students who do not read over the summer often return to school having lost skills they had previously mastered.

Summer is a great time to establish family reading habits. I remember one summer when our family read The Great Brain series as a family. I often found our older children reading to our younger children and all of our children requesting daily that I read to them. I still have my copy of Jack London’s Call of the Wild that I believe I received for my 10th birthday. I remember sleeping in a tent in our back yard and reading Call of the Wild by the light of a flashlight. I must admit that my imagination got the best of me and I spent the remainder of the night in the house with all the doors and windows securely closed.

Resources for Parents

Information (Spanish)
Frequently Asked Questions

Resources for Librarians

Information (Spanish)
Frequently Asked Questions
Summer Reading Loss Articles