Research Shows: Reading Benefits All Ages from Cognitive Development to Literacy Skills

Literacy is the foundation of academic and lifelong success for all ages.

Infants and toddlers benefit from literacy programs because many researchers have found that preschoolers who are frequently read to by parents and/or caregivers and who already know how to turn a page, recognize that words are made up of letters, and recognize some letters by the time they start school have more expansive vocabularies, increased reading comprehension, and are generally better prepared to start learning to read.

For school-age readers, access to books is a critical mechanism in summer reading.* And research shows that summer and out-of-school-time programs can have positive effects on gains in reading achievement and mitigating summer learning loss.*

For adults, particularly older adults, reading has proven to be beneficial in inhibiting cognitive decline, improving relaxation, and reducing stress (Laermans, 2020).

Your local library strives to support all literacy initiatives for all ages, including keeping students reading all summer to prevent the loss of skills before they go back to school in the fall. The annual Summer Reading Program is a reading challenge that rewards readers for every 100 minutes they read, plus your library offers special activities and events all summer to go along with each year’s theme.

From magicians to puppeteers, petting zoos to science experiments, guest speakers, games, arts and crafts, and more, your library is a great resource for having a fun and safe summer—and it’s all free!

Visit eols.org/srp to learn more about the Summer Reading Program, register to track your reading minutes, and find out what events will be held at your library this summer!


Laermans, Jorien, et al. “PROTOCOL: Recreational Book Reading for Promoting Cognitive Functioning and Emotional Well-Being in Older Adults–A Systematic Review.” Campbell Systematic Reviews, vol. 16, no. 4, Dec. 2020. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1325336&site=ehost-live.