Reading during the summer keeps your child’s mind active, sharp, and engaged. And it doesn’t matter if they read on the beach, at the pool, at home, or in the car while you’re traveling — all they need is a book, tablet, or phone and they’ll have access to whatever topics that interest them.
Summer reading also prevents what many experts call the “summer slide” or “summer learning loss.” Research indicates that this phenomenon could result in the loss of 2 months of reading skills and 2 1/2 months of math skills over a single summer. The effects are cumulative, too. That means the loss will keep building as your child progresses through their education.
That fact scared me. As a result, I started creating summer reading lists. My son will be entering his freshman year in high school this upcoming fall. He loves fantasy adventure, so he’s starting to read J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.” He’s seen all the Tolkien movies but I encouraged him to read the originals. He’ll get a better perspective on the characters and what the author originally had in store for them. Afterall, the movies deviated from the book quite a bit.
But before you start a list, here are a few tips that will help you choose the appropriate books.
Tips for Creating a Summer Reading List for Your Child
Creating a list for your child is not difficult, especially since you know your child’s reading abilities. Here are a few other things to think about.
- Look at next year’s curriculum and get a feel for what is expected of your child and then choose similar themes if possible.
- Visit your local library and take advantage of any reading activities that they offer. Also, get a library card for your child — buying books gets expensive.
- Choose a variety of genres. My child prefers fantasy adventure but I make sure he reads historical books, too.
- Mix in poetry, plays, short stories, comic books, and magazine articles.
- Include how-to books — especially if your child has a hobby. If they don’t, speak with them about their interests. There are books on everything from mountain biking to building your own website.
- Find books that are part of a series. Many kids will love one book and then hurry to read the next in the series. Think Harry Potter and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Just talk with your kids about what interests them and do your research from there. You can save money by using your local library. They will also have books that focus on themes that you kids enjoy and books by their favorite authors. But to get you started, I found some books that match different age groups — and are a big hit to many kids.
Kids Ages 3-5
Reading to your children is a great joy and your kids will remember it for life. At this age, introducing them to books is incredibly important. It will help their imaginations grow and develop a better knowledge of stories and the words that create those stories. Here’s a book that will entertain them.
Giraffe Problems by Jory John
About the book: “Edward the giraffe can’t understand why his neck is as long and bendy and, well, ridiculous as it is. No other animal has a neck this absurd. He’s tried disguising it, dressing it up, strategically hiding it behind bushes–honestly, anything you can think of, he’s tried.”
Kids Ages 6-8
Once your kids start developing reading skills, it’s incredibly important for them to keep practicing and learning. They can read aloud to you or simply hang out and read independently. Here’s a story that will inspire their imagination.
The Unbelievable Oliver and the Four Jokers by Pseudonymous Bosch
About the book: A third-grade magician, a wisecracking rabbit who is the secret brains behind his magical act, and a moth-eaten hat team up for fun. “Eight-year-old Oliver dreams of being a professional magician, even though he has terrible stage fright.”
Kids Ages 9-12
Now that your kids have improved their reading skills, you probably know what books interest them the most. As I said, my son loves fantasy and he started reading this series as soon as he was able.
Ranger’s Apprentice Series by John Flanagan
About the books: “Will, an orphan who becomes an apprentice to the mysterious protectors known as Rangers, strives to keep the Kingdom of Araluen safe from invaders, traitors and other threats in this series for action and adventure lovers.”
Books for Teenagers
Now that your child is growing up, it’s time for them to start learning about life: The joy, sadness, confusion, sorrow, and love. That’s why I want my son to read this next book. I know some high school English classes in the area require it, so I’m having him read it this summer.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
About the book: “This is the story of Holden Caulfield, the novel’s love-him-or-hate-him protagonist. Holden struggles with making friends, and understanding the world around him. The book opens as Holden gets expelled from his school, and begins a journey both hilarious and sad through New York City.”
These are just some examples. Once you speak with your child about their interests, do your research and discover the nearly endless amounts of books available. You’ll thank yourself when the new year begins and your children are sharp and ready for the next new challenge.
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