It’s back-to-school time, and reading is on the top of most teachers’ lists this year!

When kids hear the words, “back-to-school reading,” it immediately reminds them of the return of one of their least-favorite things: homework. We know teachers give their students constructive activities to do over the summer to keep their reading skills sharp until they go back to school. But when parents try to get their kids to read, they’re often met with resistance.

Luckily, if you start a nightly reading routine with your children, it can help them enjoy reading. They will think of reading as an enjoyable activity and not merely an assigned chore! If you pick out a fun and engaging series like The Happy Hollisters by Jerry West, your child will be better prepared for their first days of school, and they might not even realize that you’re preparing them! Just as parents often hide vegetables in their kids’ meals, you can disguise some of your child’s cognitive exercise as “reading.”

Here are a few ways choosing The Happy Hollisters for back-to-school reading can benefit your children:

Back-To-School Reading Boosts Performance in School

This may seem like a given but improving reading skills can have a tremendous effect on other areas of academics and education. Your children will not only score better on English and reading tests, but their verbal comprehension and test scores in other subjects further down the road will also be boosted.

Studies have shown that children who read often tend to do well in all areas of school, not just English. Reading can help a child’s focus, but it can also serve as a workout for their brain. Reading is proven to improve memory function and can even create brand new neurological connections in the brain, enhancing its abilities and performance!

In one study, researchers used MRI scans to measure the effects of reading on the brain. Participants in the study were given the novel Pompeii to read over a period of nine days.

As tension built in the story, more and more areas of the brain lit up with activity. Throughout the study, and for a few days afterward, researchers noticed that brain activity and connectivity increased!

This was especially true in the part of the brain where physical sensations are processed. Readers can picture things so well that they can even feel movement and pain as it’s being described, because reading involves a complex network of circuits and signals in the brain. As reading skills grow, the neural circuits increase as well.

Reading Teaches Children Awareness of the World Around Them 

When reading, children are exposed to a variety of different ideas and concepts. While children may only be familiar with a handful of different environments in real life, they can go to any time or place of their choosing when they read.

If they’re curious about what life is like in Zimbabwe, they can grab a book and find out. If they want to learn how to ride a bicycle, they can learn that too-WITHOUT using the internet or YouTube!  In addition, children learn much more than facts and figures when they read. Reading also teaches kids key social skills and reasoning skills. When they read what characters are thinking, they learn their thought processes. When that happens, they can place themselves in the characters’ shoes easier and may even learn from their experiences.

Reading can lower stress levels and help kids get ready for bed 

In a study by Sussex , researchers found that reading can help reduce stress levels by as much as 68%. When people pick up books, it takes their mind off their everyday life for a while, allowing their mind and body to recover from the craziness of the day.

Reading can also help improve sleeping habits. It’s recommended as an activity to do before bed because of its relaxing effect. It’s also a wonderful alternative to the harsh, blue light of a screen which can keep you awake longer and even hurt your sleep. Reading a book, however, helps children (and adults) wind down and prepares their brains for rest.

Furthermore, a research study published in   found 54% of children sleep near a small screen and get an average of twenty minutes less sleep each night as a result. If reading is not a part of your children’s nightly bedtime routine now, it’s never too late to start!

Reading is a fun, imaginative way to spend time together!

Imagination allows abstract thought and creativity to blossom. This enriches children’s skill sets, inducing them to become innovative thinkers and problem solvers in their adult lives.

When parents read aloud with their children, they’re engaging in an activity that is fun and healthy for both. Exhausted parents and their kids often curl up in front of the TV at the end of the day. But why not lie in bed with your kids and a good book? After all, parents who teach their kids that reading is fun have a greater chance at turning their kids into avid readers.

This will not only help you unwind after a crazy day, but it will help your children unwind and enter imaginary worlds that don’t involve screen time. As you read to your kids, their brains will translate the descriptions into images of people and places. They will begin to imagine the lives of others and feel what it’s like for the main characters to climb mountains, swim in a creek, or go horseback riding!

If you want to give your kids the chance to see what life was like before the internet and give them ideas for what they can do in their spare time, pick up a volume of The Happy Hollisters and read with your children. It’s as easy as clicking here!