Reading throughout the year is important for children of all ages, but summer reading is especially important, as kids (and sometimes parents), tend to take time off from school activities. In fact, the Cleveland Clinic found many advantages to reading: “Reading with your children builds warm and happy associations with books, increasing the likelihood that kids will find reading enjoyable in the future. Reading at home boosts school performance later on. It also increases vocabulary, raises self-esteem, builds good communication skills, and strengthens the prediction engine that is the human brain.”

And it doesn’t matter if your children read novels, short stories, magazines, comics or even use interactive online reading programs. They are all beneficial and can positively impact your children’s life in many ways, including:

  • Strengthening the brain
  • Increasing empathy
  • Building vocabulary
  • Preventing cognitive decline
  • Reducing stress
  • Aiding in sleep
  • Alleviating depression
  • Lengthening lifespan

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some fun summer reads for your kids.

Pre-K and Kindergarten Reading List

The earlier your child starts reading, the better off they’ll be as they progress through their academics. Picture books are a great place to start — and don’t worry if your children don’t understand every word that you read together. This is all about the reading experience with you as their teacher. A few books you can read together include:

  1. Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
    This tale of a peddler and a band of mischievous monkeys is filled with warmth, humor, and simplicity and also teaches children about problem and resolution.
  2. Corduroy by Don Freeman
    Corduroy is a stuffed bear in green corduroy overalls who lives on a department store shelf and longs for a home. After a night full of adventures, a little girl named Lisa takes Corduroy home and he happily thinks, “You must be a friend. I’ve always wanted a friend.”
  3. Tap The Magic Tree by Christie Matheson
    Every book needs you to turn the pages, but not every book needs you to tap it, shake it, jiggle it, or even blow it a kiss. Innovative and timeless, Tap the Magic Tree asks you to help one lonely tree change with the seasons. Now that’s fun and magical!

Elementary School Reading List

Elementary school years usually include first grade through fifth grade. During those years, third grade reading level is a strong indicator of future success because it is the final year children are “learning to read.” Once they progress past that point, they should be “reading to learn.” Some great books at this level include:

  1. It’s Time To Wake, Jake! by Amanda Beth Connolly
    On this particular day, Jake, a sports obsessed boy chooses to play basketball. Follow Jake through playful rhymes as he learns about fair play and good sportsmanship.
  2. When Grandma’s False Teeth Fly by Mary Lee
    Katie is not a little girl anymore — she is six years old! But some mean girls at school still tease her about her chipped baby tooth. Katie seeks advice from her grandma, who will tell her a hilarious story that encourages her to use humor instead of anger or sadness to solve her problems.
  3. My Teacher is an Alien by Bruce Coville
    Susan Simmons can tell that her new substitute teacher is really weird. But she doesn’t know how weird until she catches him peeling off his face — and realizes that “Mr. Smith” is really an alien!

Middle School Reading List

The middle school years usually include sixth grade through eighth grade. By this time, your children should be competent readers who are eagerly building their vocabulary prowess and communication skills. Books for middle schoolers include:

  1. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson
    The main character, Jess, copes with tragedy by going to a secret kingdom in the woods invented by a newcomer, Leslie Burke, who has become a good friend.
  2. The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern
    When the vain and deceitful Prince Humperdinck commands the beautiful Buttercup to marry him, Westley, her true love, will do whatever it takes (and it takes a lot!) to remove her from Humperdinck’s clutches.
  3. Watership Down by Richard Adams
    Forced from their home in Sandleford Warren by the intrusion of man, a courageous band of Berkshire rabbits face adversity, hardship and predators as they pursue a new place called “home.”

High School Reading List

Many high school students will read classics such as Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby and Shakespeare plays among other works. But for summer reading, have your children choose a few books that aren’t as familiar. This may pique their interest and it will also empower them to make their own choices. Here are a few ideas for your review:

  1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
    This book was named a New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2013 and an NPR Best Book of 2013. Both a critical darling and an audience favorite, Eleanor & Park tells the story of two high school misfits who fall in love over ‘80s music and comic books.
  2. The Martian by Andy Weir
    This novel is an ideal choice for those who struggle with reading. A grounded science fiction tale, The Martian tells the story of astronaut Mark Watney, who becomes stranded on Mars following a dust storm that compels his crew to evacuate and leave him for dead.
  3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
    This Sherlock Holmes-inspired mystery tells the story of a boy with autism who tries to solve a dog’s murder. At times, touching and humorous, the novel explores the challenges and strengths of someone who struggles with both communication and social interaction.

These books are just suggestions. Some parents build their own reading lists with their children’s help, which is a great idea. The principal objective is to keep your children reading throughout the summer. It’s a magnificent source for discovering diverse and interesting topics and expanding their imagination.

Time4Learning’s PreK-12th multi-subject curriculum includes language arts, in addition to math, science and social studies. Students are taught everything from the alphabet and phonics in the early grades to spelling, writing, comprehension and everything in between all the way through high school. Additionally, members have access to spelling lists and reading lists for elementary and middle school.

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