Proof that summer reading assignments might actually be good for your health

Good news, bookworms! Science confirms what you probably already knew—reading during the summer break is good for you.

There have actually been lots of studies that verify just how important summer reading programs are to academic performance. The most famous one dates all the way back to 1978, when Barbara Henys discovered that, not only does reading during the summer have a direct impact on a student’s performance during the school year, but that use of a public library during the summertime had even more of a positive influence on grades and vocabulary than actually attending summer school. Whoa. (We love you, libraries!)

Basically, your brain is a lot like a muscle; it gets stronger with practice. All those long summer days of sleeping in and binge-watching Netflix can cause your higher-level thinking skills to atrophy. Ack! You don’t want that. Otherwise, all that hard work you did during the school year is basically useless.

Since 1978, more studies have had similar findings, which is probably why most universities and, yes, high schools too, now expect students to hit the books over the summer break. If your school doesn’t have a summer reading list, you can always read on your own, browse Goodreads or even check out books recommended by other schools.

Channel your inner Elle Woods and take a peek at Harvard University’s reading list here. Is your vibe more along the lines of the Bravermans on Parenthood? Then you might want to see what they’re reading over at UC Berkeley. If you’re really ambitious, you can always tackle the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. Although we have a feeling that one might take you more than one summer.

Of course, summer break is also supposed to be just what it’s called: A break. Let’s face it…life can get overwhelming at times. And once high school and college are over, there won’t be anymore Spring Breaks, Winter Breaks or months off at a time. (Sniffle.) Cracking a book on a regular basis can help you with the adjustment to post-grad life. But reading is also a great way to unplug and slow down. Better yet, it’s fun.

The key is balance. There’s nothing wrong with a night of pizza and Netflix. I mean, how else are you going to catch up on all the shows you missed while you were busy writing all those papers during the school year? But binge watching TV and staying glued to your phone, day in/day out, for the entire summer isn’t just bad for you. It’s also boring. (Yes, we just said that.) Too much of a good thing and all.

Meet you at the library, Gigglers?

It’s a date.

(Image via here.)

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