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Finding Religion in Summer Reading

Finding Religion in Summer Reading

Did you know that school-aged children run the risk of losing critical reading skills during the summer vacation months? Research* shows that children who aren’t reading at home or in the community during a school break will fall behind. Sadly, children from low income homes suffer the greatest loss of skills, due in large part to less access to books.

So, what’s a parent to do about this risk and is there a way to wrap “the Good Book” (the Bible) into the reading solution? The answer is pretty simple. Read consistently to and with your children with books that you have at home. For those families near you that don’t have access to books, look for ways to get books into their homes.

Let’s consider how we might do this. First, find time every day or at least multiple times a week to help your child see the value of reading by engaging in shared reading time. It is also important for your child to see you reading alone in your free time. Next, become missions-minded by identifying communities within 5-10 miles of your home where families are struggling with conditions of poverty. Take a moment to realize that families that cannot afford food or medical care also can’t afford books or the gas to drive to the public library.

Establish a “book drive” with friends who can afford to buy 3-5 books and collect them in storage bins in the back of your car. Make sure to collect books at different reading levels with unique levels of difficulty. Don’t forget picture books for preschoolers, especially Bible picture books. For elementary aged children consider simple readers that share well-known Bible stories. Once collected, provide a free book give-away in the communities in need.

If you’re feeling inspired, there are other ways to serve the targeted communities. You could offer a “books and bagels” or “books and berries” gift bag with mini bagels or fruit thrown into a gift bag that holds at least one book. At the same time, consider including a religious tract that shares the plan of salvation. But most importantly, just talk to the families to whom you give the books. In the process of learning who they are and how they are, ask them if they have a church or would be interested in their child visiting a program at your church. Consider reading a Bible story with a child!

If we partner reading with our religion and serve people in our back doors, regularly meeting physical and academic needs, then we’re living the Gospel in its purest form. Spend time this summer helping children around you grow in every way possible

* Brookings Institute’s article on Summer Learning Loss –

By: Dr. Lori Brown is a southern writer and educator who enjoys inspiring families to live faithfully with the Lord.

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