The Benefits of Summer Reading

DFB Staff Writer

Summer is fast approaching alhamdulillaah, but don’t let your child neglect an important summer activity: reading! There are many benefits to be gained from summer reading, so make sure your child doesn’t miss out.

5 benefits of summer reading:

  1. Summer reading prevents summer slide. We mentioned in a previous article that summer reading helps children beat summer slide – the damaging loss of reading skills that were gained during the school year.
  2. Reading increases and enhances children's knowledge. In our 3 Keys to Improving Students’ Literacy Outcomes series, we’ve been talking about how acquiring knowledge is the key to helping students receive, understand and master new knowledge. Summer reading is a great way to increase your child’s knowledge in a fun, low-pressure way. Give your child a variety of halal topics to read about during the summer to help ensure they will be ready to receive and solve new and more complex topics and information in the upcoming school year inshaa’Allaah.
  3. Reading improves students' writing skills. Without any effort on their part, as they read, children learn the conventions of writing. The more reading they do, the more children learn about sentence variety and length, how to structure sentences, how language is used to express thoughts and feelings and beliefs, and how language is used to excite emotions and feelings in a reader (Tahany Bahloul’s The Periodic Thefts provides children with an excellent example of how writing is used to influence readers’ emotions). This learning is effortless but transfers to children’s own writing, alhmadulillaah.
  4. Reading improves children’s ability to concentrate. Teachers love this one! Children and adults are being bombarded with information. From social media to advertising, ‘smart’ devices and the internet, the human brain is being taxed as perhaps it has never been taxed before subhanallaah. This constant barrage of information makes it hard for children to focus and concentrate for long periods of time. This, of course, is damaging and has deleterious effects on their schoolwork. But alhamdulillaah, reading is one way children can regain and improve their ability to concentrate. This summer, have your child put down the device and pick up a book!
  5. Reading broadens children’s perspective and helps them empathise with others. The world is global, but our perspective can still be limited and narrow when we do not know about how others’ lives are. Encased in our own countries, cities and neighbourhoods, we are often unaware of how our brothers and sisters in other countries (or even in our own town/city) have lives that are very different – and often less advantaged – from our own. This ignorance of our fellow Muslims sometimes means we don’t recall or implement this hadith:

    عَنْ النُّعْمَانِ بْنِ بَشِيرٍ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: الْمُسْلِمُونَ كَرَجُلٍ وَاحِدٍ إِنْ اشْتَكَى عَيْنُهُ اشْتَكَى كُلُّهُ وَإِنْ اشْتَكَى رَأْسُهُ اشْتَكَى كُلُّهُ.

    2586 صحيح مسلم كتاب البر والصلة والآداب باب تراحم المؤمنين وتعاطفهم وتعاضدهم

     Al-Nu’man ibn Bashir reported: The Messenger of Allaah, صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “The Muslims are like a single man. If the eye is afflicted, the whole body is afflicted. If the head is afflicted, the whole body is afflicted.” {Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2586}

    When children do not remember they are part of a large ummah and many of those in the ummah are being afflicted with different trials, children may not display or feel the empathy required. Children need to be aware that many of their brothers and sisters in Islaam suffer from food insecurity or water scarcity, while others are trialed with poverty or academic struggles. (Umm An-Nu’man’s book Adnan’s Anger is a good book to use to help children understand the perspective of others).  

    So as the weather warms up, don’t let your children put down their books. Give them plenty of time to read Islamically appropriate books so they can reap the many benefits to be gained from summer reading. And of course, read with and to your children: that’s a priceless activity whose benefits cannot be enumerated sufficiently.

    Happy summer reading!