By Michelle Talsma Everson

A recent study of children in the third to fifth grades showed that students lost an average of 20 percent of their school year gains in reading and 27 percent of their school year gains in math during summer break, according to With this school year already disrupted due to COVID-19, experts note that now, more than ever before, it’s crucial to encourage students of all ages to read during the summer.

One local resource for busy families is the Read On Arizona website at On the website, you can use the “Find a Book” tool to find books that meet your child’s interest and reading level; use a reading log to track time spent reading; and find other helpful educational resources.

Another resource for families includes Read Across America’s Kids Summer Reading List website at Here, families can find an array of reading resources, book recommendations, and parenting tips. Some ideas include joining the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, where you receive digital rewards, or the Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program, where young readers can earn a free book after reading eight books.

What can parents do to help reverse the “Summer Slide” (when children lose their reading and math skills over the summer)? recommends that parents allow children to read the books they’re most interested in; make time for “smart play,” such as games and puzzles; allow kids to use their imagination through imaginative play such as LEGOs, etc.; and join a summer reading program at your local library.

“The Summer Reading Game is the cornerstone of public library programs. This year we have transitioned the experience to an online format featuring the game, prizes and programs,” says city librarian Rita Hamilton.

Beginning this month, Phoenix Public Library’s summer reading program allows readers of all ages to fall in love with reading and make reading a habit, she adds.

Register for the Summer Reading Game at Phoenix residents can also go to and participate, the goal being building the habit of reading 20 minutes a day. Even more fun? Make it a family activity as kids, teens and adults can all participate.