Maybe it was because summer camp was cancelled. Maybe spending hours indoors playing video games got boring. Maybe they needed an escape from all the pandemic talk. Maybe they really just love to read.

Whatever the reason, Texas students did the most summer reading in the nation over the summer months.

That's according to a recent survey of 1,600 U.S. students conducted by the folks at Brainly. They found that 74% of American children read more unassigned books over their 2020 summer vacation than they did last year.

Of the top 5 states in which kids did more reading, Texas ranked #1 at 83%, followed by New Jersey and Illinois at 82%, Georgia at 79%, Michigan at 78%, and Ohio at 77%.

Appropriately enough, dystopian fiction was the preferred genre, making up 36% of the books kids were reading. When it feels like you're living in a dystopian world, those books must read more like instruction manuals than an escape.

13% of books read were mysteries/crime thrillers, 10% were romance novels, and 9% were graphic novels.

The students surveyed were serious bookworms, too. According to Brainly, their survey found that 40.2% of kids read between three to six full-length books. 31% read seven or more full-length books, while 11% of kids read at least one or two full-length books. Hey, some books are just worth savoring!

“Despite canceled trips COVID-19-related closures, it’s wonderful to learn that many more students were able to find a healthy mental escape with literary adventures in books this summer,” said Patrick Quinn, a Parenting Expert at Brainly. “The students who spent more time reading over the summer are likely to have an academic edge and experience less learning loss this school year than their peers who didn’t read as much.”

Kudos to all the kiddos who've cracked open good books this year, and major props to the parents who did such a great job instilling a love of reading in their children. That's honestly one of the greatest gifts you can ever give your child.

If you're a parent who'd love to give that gift to your little one, Patrick Quinn with Brainly has a few helpful tips:

  • Establish rewards. For every 10 books your child reads, allow them to pick a prize or ear some sort of coveted privilege.
  • Piggyback on their passions by helping them pick books that feature topics or themes you know they're interested in.
  • Create a themed reading nook where you'll child will enjoy hanging out and reading. It can be spaced themed, a little fort full of books, a princess palace - whatever will get them excited about spending time there and enjoying great books.
  • Set a good example and do a lot of reading yourself. The best way for kids develop a passion for reading is to learn by example. The more you read and express your love of reading, the more likely your child is to want to share in that passion.

I don't know about you, but I've certainly done more reading over the past few months. I care for a family member who's vulnerable to the worst effects of COVID-19, so I've tried to spend as much time indoors or in my backyard as possible.

When I'm not playing with my dog, I'm reading. So far, I've made it through most of J.R.R. Tolkien's work, and I've caught up on some non-fiction reads that have been stacked on my nightstand for a while too.

I'm not a father, but brother and sister-in-law just had their first child and I can't wait to visit and read to him. In fact, I'd like to add one more piece of advice to Patrick's list: Read to your kids often. It's a great way to show them how great reading and sharing great stories can be.

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