Kids who read as little as 15 minutes each day during the summer can advance their reading levels, the National Institute for Literacy said.
The more a child reads during vacation breaks, the greater their potential for advancement.
"Reading four to five books has significantly larger effects than reading three or fewer books," said the Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk.
Children who do not read during the summer can slide backward by two months or roughly 22 percent of the school year, said researchers at Johns Hopkins.
Student math scores are rising in Indiana, which is partly because schools play a dominant role in developing math skills.
This is not the case with reading. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), children gain considerable knowledge about written language between birth and age 6. Parents directly and indirectly affect the development of reading skills.
Only 30 percent of Indiana fourth-graders and 28 percent of eighth-graders are at or above the proficient level in reading, according to information from the National Center for Education Statistics.
"Overall Hoosier reading scores have stagnated for years and the percentage of students who are below basic has increased," said the report.
The Indiana Youth Institute said the number and variety of books, magazines and newspapers that parents make available in the home can encourage or curtail a child's desire to read.
Some things to do with children to help their skill level might include cooking together with second or third grade students, the report said. Or, children can read the recipes and measure and stir ingredients or help write a grocery list.
It's important to set aside family reading time for all ages and to set an example, the report said.
The Indiana Department of Education has published a list of books for summer reading. The list provides choices for all grade levels.
Many of the authors on the list have written other interesting works and several titles are the first in a series that may spur readers into reading the other books about the same characters.
Parents and families will want to preview every title for appropriateness of content, interest and reading level before selecting it for summer reading for their children.
Suggested books for kindergarten through second grade are: "Boundless Grace" by Mary Hoffman; "Evie Finds Her Family Tree" by Ashley Ransburg; "Greedy Triangle" by Marilyn Burns and "Horton Hears a Who" by Dr. Seuss.
Books for Grades three through five include "Math Rashes" by Douglas Evans; "Olympic Dream" by Matt Christopher; "Space" by Alan Dyer; "Young Abe Lincoln The Frontier Days" by Cheryl Harness and" Dog Diaries: Secret Writings of the WOOF Society" by Betsy Byars.
Middle school lists include "All of the Above" by Shelley Pearsall; "Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie" by Jordan Sonneblick; "Firegirl" by Tony Abbott; "Team Moon" by Catherine Thinmesh and "Throwing Stones" by Kristi Collier.
High School recommendations include "The River Between Us" by Richard Peck; "Hattie Big Sky" by Kirby Larson; "Eggs" by Jerry Spinelli and "Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery" by John Feinstein.