Keeping the kids reading during the summer months is an important part of keeping their minds sharp for when school starts back up. Plus there are classics at every age that kids will enjoy, even if they aren’t required reading for school.
Let’s face it it’s also great to be able to have another activity on those hot summer long afternoons when they start complaining of being bored.
There are several studies that support the benefits of summer reading especially to children and teens. Believe it or not, children who don’t read during the summer time can lose up to three months of reading progress. This can lead to a cumulative, long term effect.
It’s also a great memory for kids for years to come. They’ll remember that one great book for the rest of their lives.
I remember the last book my Mom read to me nightly when I was growing up: The Five Little Peppers And How They Grew. I’ll never forget looking forward to that time where we would sit down and she would read a chapter. We could leave the world behind and dive into their world all from the living room couch. Her reading to me is what brought about my love of reading.
Continuing your kids good reading habits, even during summer vacation, will allow students to succeed in their coming school year. This can even put them ahead of their peers in reading skills!
A child who reads three or more books over the summer fare better on reading comprehension tests in the fall, compared to their peers who read less or not at all.
A few of my favorite books I read when I was school aged were:
Make Reading Fun!
You Should Lead By Example
Making reading a part of your routine during the summer will entice your other family members to follow in your foot steps.
In fact, one of the factors to determine if a student will be a lifelong reader is to know that someone in the family is setting an example for them.
Have a lot of reading materials around the house. You can set aside at least 10 to 15 minutes a day to read alone or you can also read with your younger family members.
Read Everything, Anywhere You Are
Let your child read signs, posters, streamers, and even the back of the box of their favorite morning cereals.
If you go on a trip, to the pool, or camping, let your kids be responsible for reading all the signs.
Go On Regular Trips To The Library
Another fun, reading centered activity that you can enjoy with the kids is going on regular trips to the library.
Let your children spend as little or as much time picking out books that they can take at home. Choose a specific date every week or two weeks they can look forward to and know to have their books read or ready to be re-checked out and thinking about what new book they’d like.
Make A “Reading List”
Allow your children to pick out their favorite book titles, favorite authors, or you can create a “reading list” that you and your family can all enjoy for each grade level in your home.
From fiction to non-fiction best sellers to educational and travel titles. The possibilities are truly endless.
Don’t know which one to read or to add to your list? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here are some of our favorite books to add to your summer reading list.
Children will delight in following the peddler’s efforts to outwit the monkeys and will ask to read it again and again. Caps for Sale is an excellent easy-to-read book that includes repetition, patterns, and colors, perfect for early readers.
This tale of a peddler and a band of mischievous monkeys is filled with warmth, humor, and simplicity and also teaches children about problem solving.
This classic book will be appreciated by any parent or preschooler. It never fails to get preschoolers chanting along and giggling.
Whether they’re short or tall, pruny or smooth, full of berries or flowers or nuts, the 26 types of trees in this alphabet primer are sure to surprise and delight the youngest of readers (and their parents). After all, trees do more for us than sway in the wind.
Did you know incense Cedars are perfect for making pencils? (So we can practice writing our ABCs.) Or that Katsura trees are great for climbing? (So we can discover more about trees!) With playful text, bright illustrations, and pages as strong as an oak, Mrs. Peanuckle’s trees will engage toddlers and take them on an alphabet adventure through the natural world.
Mrs. Peanuckle’s Tree Alphabet is the sixth and final title in a series of board picture books celebrating the joy of nature at home and in the backyard, from fresh fruits and vegetables to birds, bugs, and trees.
What Sound is Morning? by Grant Snider
Welcome the day by exploring the subtle wonders and exciting sounds of the morning with this lyrical and picturesque story.
In the first morning light, all might seem quiet. In this companion to What Color Is Night? Grant Snider explores the sounds and silences of morning. Ending in an inspiring call to action to toss off the covers, throw open the window, and fill the world with your song this uplifting book is sure to help families feel ready to face the day.
With bright art as exuberant as the rooster’s crow, and humorous text celebrating the chipper alarm, the rumbling stomach, and the clanking garbage truck, What Sound Is Morning? is a moving and timeless look at the way each of us begins every day.
The adorable and indomitable Tiny T. Rex from the critically acclaimed Tiny T. Rex and The Impossible Hug is back in a tale about friendship and overcoming your fears.
Tiny T. Rex and his friend Pointy are having a campout in the backyard! It is what best friends do. But without their nighty-lights, the dark outside suddenly seems VERY dark . . . and very full of spooky things. Good thing Tiny has a super-secret plan to keep the dark at bay!
Full of warmth and plenty of laughs, this new adventure starring Tiny T. Rex shows that friends will always find a way to face their fears together—even when those fears are not what they seem!
For Those In Kindergarten
In this heartfelt and universal story, a mother and daughter look forward to their special Saturday routine together every single week. But this Saturday, one thing after another goes wrong–ruining storytime, salon time, picnic time, and the puppet show they’d been looking forward to going to all week. Mom is nearing a meltdown…until her loving daughter reminds her that being together is the most important thing of all.
Author-artist Oge Mora’s highly anticipated follow up to Caldecott Honor Thank You, Omu! features the same magnificently radiant artwork and celebration of sharing so beloved in her debut picture book.
A New York Times Bestseller Named an Outstanding Literary Work for Children by the NAACP.
Some people collect stamps. Some people collect coins. Some people collect art. And Jerome? Jerome collected words.
In this extraordinary new tale from Peter H. Reynolds, Jerome discovers the magic of the words all around him — short and sweet words, two-syllable treats, and multisyllable words that sound like little songs. Words that connect, transform, and empower.
From the creator of The Dot, I Am Human, and Happy Dreamer comes a celebration of finding your own words — and the impact you can have when you share them with the world.
When something sad happens, Taylor doesn’t know where to turn. All the animals are sure they have the answer. The chicken wants to talk it out, but Taylor doesn’t feel like chatting. The bear thinks Taylor should get angry, but that’s not quite right either. One by one, the animals try to tell Taylor how to act, and one by one they fail to offer comfort. Then the rabbit arrives. All the rabbit does is listen.. Which is just what Taylor needs.
With its spare, poignant text and irresistibly sweet illustration, The Rabbit Listened is about how to comfort and heal the people in your life, by taking the time to carefully, lovingly, gently listen.
Lucia the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza
Lucía the Luchadora is named one of the Best Books of 2017 by NPR, Kirkus Reviews, Chicago Public Library and more!
Lucía zips through the playground in her cape just like the boys, but when they tell her “girls can’t be superheroes,” suddenly she doesn’t feel so mighty. That’s when her beloved abuela reveals a dazzling secret: Lucía comes from a family of luchadoras, the bold and valiant women of the Mexican lucha libre tradition.
Cloaked in a flashy new disguise, Lucía returns as a recess sensation! But when she’s confronted with a case of injustice, Lucía must decide if she can stay true to the ways of the luchadora and fight for what is right, even if it means breaking the sacred rule of never revealing the identity behind her mask. A story about courage and cultural legacy, Lucía the Luchadora is full of pluck, daring, and heart.
Dog’s toothbrush is missing. Has anybody seen it? Maybe.. But what does a toothbrush look like? Donkey wonders.
Featuring Jan Thomas’s wonderfully wacky humor, rowdy repetitions, and hilarious characters, this book is sure to have young readers laughing out loud!
Zita’s life took a cosmic left turn in the blink of an eye.
When her best friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult, Zita leaps to the rescue and finds herself a stranger on a strange planet. Humanoid chickens and neurotic robots are shocking enough as new experiences go, but Zita is even more surprised to find herself taking on the role of intergalactic hero. Before long, aliens in all shapes and sizes don’t even phase her. Neither do ancient prophecies, doomed planets, or even a friendly con man who takes a mysterious interest in Zita’s quest.
Zita the Spacegirl is a fun, captivating tale of friendship and redemption from Flight veteran Ben Hatke. It also has more whimsical, eye-catching, Miyazaki-esque monsters than you can shake a stick at.
Five books in one box! With nonstop action, huge plot twists, and tons of humor, this series will quickly have your 7- to 12-year-old video game fan begging for just one more chapter.
Getting sucked into a video game is not as much fun as you’d think. Sure, there are jetpacks, hover tanks, and infinite lives, but what happens when the game starts to turn on you? In this best-selling series, 12-year-old Jesse Rigsby finds out just how dangerous video games – and the people making those games – can be.
Book One: Trapped in a Video Game
Jesse hates video games – and for good reason. You see, a video game character is trying to kill him. After getting sucked into the new game Full Blast with his best friend, Eric, Jesse quickly discovers that he’s being followed by a mysterious figure. If he doesn’t figure out what’s going on fast, he’ll be trapped for good!
Book Two: The Invisible Invasion
Jesse’s rescue mission has led him into the world of Go Wild, a Pokemon Go-style mobile game full of hidden danger and invisible monsters. Can Jesse stay alive long enough to sneak into the shady video game company and uncover what they’re hiding?
Book Three: Robots Revolt
The robot villains from Super Bot World 3 have been released into the real world, and it’s up to Jesse to get them back. This is Jesse’s most dangerous mission yet, because this time, the video game is real. And in the real world, there are no extra lives.
Book Four: Return to Doom Island
In this retro adventure, Jesse will need to outsmart a superintelligent android, outlast a tireless drone, and outswim an eight-bit shark. If he can somehow pull all that off, Jesse will discover that he hasn’t even gotten to the scary part yet.
Book Five: The Final Boss
Jesse and Eric have 10 minutes to save the world. In those 10 minutes, they’re supposed to dive into a massive video game universe, track down an all-powerful madman, and stop his evil plan before it’s too late. Sound impossible? It’s super impossible. The clock is ticking.
The amazing New York Times bestseller about what you can do when life gives you a second chance.
Chase’s memory just went out the window. Chase doesn’t remember falling off the roof. He doesn’t remember hitting his head. He doesn’t, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again, starting with his own name. He knows he’s Chase.
But who is Chase? When he gets back to school, he sees that different kids have very different reactions to his return. Some kids treat him like a hero. Some kids are clearly afraid of him. One girl in particular is so angry with him that she pours her frozen yogurt on his head the first chance she gets. Pretty soon, it’s not only a question of who Chase is–it’s a question of who he was . . . and who he’s going to be.
From the #1 bestselling author of Swindle and Slacker, Restart is the spectacular story of a kid with a messy past who has to figure out what it means to get a clean start.
Perfect for fans of Hatchet and the I Survived series, this harrowing middle grade debut novel-in-verse from a Pushcart Prize–nominated poet tells the story of a young girl who wakes up one day to find herself utterly alone in her small Colorado town.
When twelve-year-old Maddie hatches a scheme for a secret sleepover with her two best friends, she ends up waking up to a nightmare. She’s alone—left behind in a town that has been mysteriously evacuated and abandoned.
With no one to rely on, no power, and no working phone lines or internet access, Maddie slowly learns to survive on her own. Her only companions are a Rottweiler named George and all the books she can read. After a rough start, Maddie learns to trust her own ingenuity and invents clever ways to survive in a place that has been deserted and forgotten.
As months pass, she escapes natural disasters, looters, and wild animals. But Maddie’s most formidable enemy is the crushing loneliness she faces every day. Can Maddie’s stubborn will to survive carry her through the most frightening experience of her life?
Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep South—and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred
One of the most cherished stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country.
A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father—a crusading local lawyer—risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.
Don’t miss one of America’s top 100 most-loved novels, selected by PBS’s The Great American Read.
An impressive hardcover volume containing all seven books in the classic fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia, graced by black-and-white chapter opening illustrations and featuring an essay by C. S. Lewis on writing. This volume also contains C. S. Lewis’s essay “On Three Ways of Writing for Children.”
Fantastic creatures, heroic deeds, epic battles in the war between good and evil, and unforgettable adventures come together in this world where magic meets reality, which has been enchanting readers of all ages for over sixty years. The Chronicles of Narnia has transcended the fantasy genre to become a part of the canon of classic literature.
Join Captain Nemo and the Nautilus as they journey into the deep in Jules Verne’s classic science fiction tale.
In an age that has seen the wildest speculations of science become reality, Jules Verne is regarded as both a technological prophet and one of the most exciting masters of imagination the world has ever known. Of all his novels, none is more compelling and thrilling than 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
This extraordinary voyage into the depths of the unknown aboard the legendary submarine Nautilus—commanded by the brilliant, tragic Captain Nemo—explores both the limitless possibilities of science and the twisted labyrinth of the human mind. The novel stands as science fiction raised to the level of literature and remains a vivid expression of a new era of technological advancement and humanity’s place within that world.
There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.
The domesticated life of a powerful St. Bernard-Shepherd mix named Buck is quickly turned on end when he is stolen away from his master and put to work as a sled dog in Alaska. His once life of luxury turns into a life of survival and adaptation as he learns the ways of the wilderness.
Set in the Klondike region of Canada during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, Author Jack London’s The Call of the Wild showcases the transformation of a canine as he learns to adapt to what life has given him, fair or not.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel by Mark Twain. Commonly named among the Great American Novels .The novel’s preeminence derives from its wonderfully imaginative re-creation of boyhood adventures along the Mississippi River, its inspired characterization, the author’s remarkable ear for dialogue, and the book’s understated development of serious underlying themes: “natural” man versus “civilized” society, the evils of slavery, the innate value and dignity of human beings, and other topics.
Most of all, Huckleberry Finn is a wonderful story, filled with high adventure and unforgettable characters.
This Newbery Medal-winning novel by bestselling author Katherine Paterson is a modern classic of friendship and loss.
Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke, outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie’s house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia. One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength that Leslie has given him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief.
In addition to being a Newbery Medal winner, Bridge to Terabithia was also named an ALA Notable Children’s Book and has become a touchstone of children’s literature, as have many of Katherine Paterson’s other novels, includingThe Great Gilly Hopkins and Jacob Have I Loved.
Written more than 70 years ago, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, his dystopian vision of a government that will do anything to control the narrative is timelier than ever.
Winston Smith toes the Party line, rewriting history to satisfy the demands of the Ministry of Truth. With each lie he writes, Winston grows to hate the Party that seeks power for its own sake and persecutes those who dare to commit thoughtcrimes. But as he starts to think for himself, Winston can’t escape the fact that Big Brother is always watching.
A startling and haunting novel, 1984 creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the novel’s hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions — a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.
Anyone who has read J.D. Salinger’s New Yorker stories, particularly A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, The Laughing Man, and For Esme With Love and Squalor, will not be surprised by the fact that his first novel is full of children. The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield.
Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it.
There are many voices in this novel: children’s voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden’s voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.
Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations.
Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different, and far more satisfying, than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.
In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare creates a violent world, in which two young people fall in love. It is not simply that their families disapprove; the Montagues and the Capulets are engaged in a blood feud.
In this death-filled setting, the movement from love at first sight to the lovers’ final union in death seems almost inevitable. And yet, this play set in an extraordinary world has become the quintessential story of young love. In part because of its exquisite language, it is easy to respond as if it were about all young lovers.
For Those In Senior High School
The Pulitzer Prize-winning tragedy of a salesman’s deferred American dream
Ever since it was first performed in 1949, Death of a Salesman has been recognized as a milestone of the American theater. In the person of Willy Loman, the aging, failing salesman who makes his living riding on a smile and a shoeshine, Arthur Miller redefined the tragic hero as a man whose dreams are at once insupportably vast and dangerously insubstantial. He has given us a figure whose name has become a symbol for a kind of majestic grandiosity—and a play that compresses epic extremes of humor and anguish, promise and loss, between the four walls of an American living room.
Considered lurid and shocking by mid-19th-century standards, Wuthering Heights was initially thought to be such a publishing risk that its author, Emily Brontë, was asked to pay some of the publication costs. A somber tale of consuming passions and vengeance played out against the lonely moors of northern England, the book proved to be one of the most enduring classics of English literature.
The turbulent and tempestuous story of love about Cathy and Heathcliff spans two generations — from the time Heathcliff, a strange, coarse young boy, is brought to live on the Earnshaws’ windswept estate, through Cathy’s marriage to Edgar Linton and Heathcliff’s plans for revenge, to Cathy’s death years later and the eventual union of the surviving Earnshaw and Linton heirs.
A masterpiece of imaginative fiction, Wuthering Heights (the author’s only novel) remains as poignant and compelling today as it was when first published in 1847. (I adored this book when I was in school – it was more than just a good book, I was immersed in all the imagery.)
Hamlet is Shakespeare’s most popular, and most puzzling, play. It follows the form of a “revenge tragedy,” in which the hero, Hamlet, seeks vengeance against his father’s murderer, his uncle Claudius, now the king of Denmark. Much of its fascination, however, lies in its uncertainties.
Among them: What is the Ghost–Hamlet’s father demanding justice, a tempting demon, an angelic messenger? Does Hamlet go mad, or merely pretend to? Once he is sure that Claudius is a murderer, why does he not act? Was his mother, Gertrude, unfaithful to her husband or complicit in his murder?
George Orwell’s timeless and timely allegorical novel—a scathing satire on a downtrodden society’s blind march towards totalitarianism.
A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned—a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.
When Animal Farm was first published, Stalinist Russia was seen as its target. Today it is devastatingly clear that wherever and whenever freedom is attacked, under whatever banner, the cutting clarity and savage comedy of George Orwell’s masterpiece have a meaning and message still ferociously fresh.
A #1 New York Times Bestseller. An instant classic and eerily prescient cultural phenomenon, from “the patron saint of feminist dystopian fiction” (The New York Times). Now an award-winning Hulu series starring Elizabeth Moss.
In Margaret Atwood’s dystopian future, environmental disasters and declining birthrates have led to a Second American Civil War. The result is the rise of the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian regime that enforces rigid social roles and enslaves the few remaining fertile women. Offred is one of these, a Handmaid bound to produce children for one of Gilead’s commanders.
Deprived of her husband, her child, her freedom, and even her own name, Offred clings to her memories and her will to survive. At once a scathing satire, an ominous warning, and a tour de force of narrative suspense, The Handmaid’s Tale is a modern classic.
William Golding’s compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic.
At first it seems as though it is all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious and life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic and death.
As ordinary standards of behaviour collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with them—the world of cricket and homework and adventure stories—and another world is revealed beneath, primitive and terrible. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies has established itself as a true classic.
Now more than ever: Aldous Huxley’s enduring masterwork must be read and understood by anyone concerned with preserving the human spirit.
Aldous Huxley’s profoundly important classic of world literature, Brave New World is a searching vision of an unequal, technologically-advanced future where humans are genetically bred, socially indoctrinated, and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively uphold an authoritarian ruling order–all at the cost of our freedom, full humanity, and perhaps also our souls. Huxley was a man of incomparable talents: Equally an artist, a spiritual seeker, and one of history’s keenest observers of human nature and civilization.
Brave New World, his masterpiece, has enthralled and terrified millions of readers, and retains its urgent relevance to this day as both a warning to be heeded as we head into tomorrow and as thought-provoking, satisfying work of literature. Written in the shadow of the rise of fascism during the 1930s, Brave New World likewise speaks to a 21st-century world dominated by mass-entertainment, technology, medicine and pharmaceuticals, the arts of persuasion, and the hidden influence of elites.
One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston.
Out of print for almost thirty years, due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist, Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.
Reading is a great way to keep them off of social media for a while so they can dive into other worlds and be lost in a different time period. Whether you take them to the library to swipe that library card or local bookstore these books can be found and are great for kids grades K-12 and young adults.
You can even check with your school library journal to find book recommendations and book lists to help you choose what would be age appropriate as well as engaging.
What were your favorite books to read when you were in school?