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Jen Robinson reviews and blogs about books for children. She has a passion for children's books and promoting reading. Read more »
One of the best things about summer is having more time to read. I like nothing more than to sit outside on a beautiful day, smelling the grass and feeling the breeze, lost in a good book. I have many memories of reading outside on summer afternoons as a kid. I used to read up in a tree in our side yard, or by the pool, or even occasionally up on the roof (not that I encourage such things - our roof had a big flat section). I remember reading on a raft in the lake while on vacation, swimming back and forth while holding the book up with one hand. Summer vacations and books are inseparable in my mind.
I'm not a fan of required summer reading. I think that's a way to turn something enjoyable into a chore. I understand why schools sometimes feel the need to call for required summer reading. Kids who don't read at all during the summer can see their performance drop (the "summer slide"). But I hate seeing required summer reading drag kids down. The idea of reading as something that one has to do, reluctantly, is depressing.
Summer reading should be a joy. Summer vacation should be a time to stretch out on a hammock or curl up in an armchair and dive deep into a fun, engrossing, fabulous read. Kids who spend time reading during the summer go back to school in the fall with their reading skills improved. This will help them in school, and help them later in life. But even more importantly, kids who read during the summer will form life-long memories and make powerful connections with books.
Parents can help make this magic happen. Here are a few simple tips:
And that's it. A prescription for getting kids reading this summer. Get great books, take them places with you, make reading social, keep reading from being a chore or a contest, and leave a bit of time for reading on the schedule. There are no guarantees, of course. But if you do all of these things, you're setting the stage for a reading-filled summer.
Here are a few recent titles that I think are perfect summer reading for kids who enjoy fiction:
- The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall reviewed here
(Start with the first Penderwicks book, if you haven't already read it.)
- A Million Miles from Boston by Karen Day reviewed here
- Squish: Super Amoeba by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm reviewed here
- Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown by Jarrett J. Krosoczka reviewed here
- Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord reviewed here
- The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (No review, but it's a second series set in the same world as the Percy Jackson series.)
- Penny Dreadful by Laurel Snyder reviewed here
- The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens reviewed here
I have many more recommendations on my site and will share some specific recommendations for boys next week.