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Executive Function and Summer Reading

As May draws to a close, students and their parents are switching roles as the school year oscillates between periods of humdrum routine and intensive work. Currently, students are wrapping up final exams, marking the last period of intensive work. However, there is one problem – what’s next?

For most students, the school year comes in waves. They have a slow one or two weeks, then a period of steady work, followed by a hectic week of two or three assessments. This routine becomes familiar, students know what to expect, and can spend their willpower and energy accordingly. The summer presents a different problem. Far too many students plunge into deep rest after they take their last exams, which is understandable. If they had taken ten to twelve hours of exams in one week, they would need a break too. However, it’s essential that this recovery break doesn’t turn into a three-month hiatus from learning and development. This is where summer reading and their not-literary progeny (math packets, standardized test prep, etc.) come into play.

Many students consider summer reading to be a checkbox chore, claiming it serves no academic value besides a completion grade at the beginning of the next school year. However, it’s crucial for academic success. According to a study by the National Summer Learning Association, students who don’t read over the summer lose up to three months of reading progress. Think about the losses in math and other classes, but we will stick to reading in this blog post because summer reading is a must for students who want to hit the ground running next year. However, it’s about much more than that. At Staying Ahead of the Game, we believe that summer reading is an opportunity for students to explore new worlds, develop their skills, and become lifelong learners.

Summer reading prepares students for the upcoming academic year by keeping their minds active and engaged. Reading over the summer can help students maintain and improve their reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. Summer reading can also help develop executive function skills, such as planning, organization, and time management. Better than most other summer activities, summer reading mimics the EF skills tested by the normal school year. Students must remain organized with chapter notes and summaries. They must manage their time will and divide the large project into small chunks. Summer reading also requires focus and attention, which can help improve students’ ability to concentrate and avoid distractions. According to a study by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, students who read for pleasure have better time management skills and are more likely to set goals for themselves.

Now, if summer reading is such a helpful tool for EF development over the summer, what are some of the obstacles that get in the way? It’s often boring and overwhelming. Choosing books to read can be overwhelming, so we recommend that students start by selecting books based on their interests and hobbies. To stay motivated, it can be helpful to set specific reading goals, such as reading for thirty minutes per day or finishing a certain number of books by the end of summer. We also recommend that students find a quiet and comfortable place to read, free from distractions like phones and TV. Parents can also play a role in supporting their children’s summer reading by taking them to the library, discussing books with them, and modeling good reading habits. Finally, students can enhance their summer reading experience by participating in book clubs, writing book reviews, or creating book-related art projects.

Summer reading may not be the most exciting activity, but it is essential for academic success and executive function development. By reading over the summer, students can maintain and improve their EF skills, develop good habits, and be better prepared for the upcoming school year. As Albert Einstein once said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Let’s encourage our students to read and stay ahead of the game. At Staying Ahead of the Game, we are committed to helping students reach their full potential through academic coaching, test preparation, and summer enrichment programs. Making the most of summer reading is just one component of our goal.

Summer reading is crucial for academic success and executive function development. To get ahead and stay ahead, students should prioritize reading over the summer and set specific goals to maintain and improve their skills. For more tips and articles on academic success, check out our blog. If you’re interested in one-on-one executive function coaching, reach out to us today. It is crucial for students to stay engaged and active during the summer break to prepare themselves for the upcoming academic year. Parents can play a significant role in supporting their children’s summer reading by taking them to the library, discussing books with them, and modeling good reading habits. By participating in summer reading, students can enhance their skills, develop good habits, and be better prepared for the upcoming school year.

Evan Weinberger


Staying Ahead of the Game offers unique academic coaching & tutoring services to help good students achieve greatness.

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