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Summer Reading – A Little Something for Everyone
When you think about summer reading and your child, the goal should be to read for enjoyment more than anything else. Books can be at grade level, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with reading an “easy” book if your child enjoys it. Encourage your children to read anything they can get their hands on, regardless of genre – comic books, folk tales, poetry, plays, fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction, fairy tales, picture books, biographies, magazines, mystery, horror, nonfiction – there is no wrong choice when it comes to summer reading, except not reading!
When you are looking for books to read, explore your local libraries. You have a lot more choices, and they are all FREE, so if a book isn’t a good fit you’re not stuck with it. Just return the book to the library and make a new choice.
When selecting a book, encourage your child to take a book tour:
- look at the cover – what does the title & illustration tell me about the story?
- flip through and look at the pictures – are they interesting? do they grab your attention?
- read the book jacket – usually you can find a brief summary on the back cover of the book – does this sound like a book I want to read?
- open to the first chapter, and read a page or two – can I read this book on my own or do I need someone to read it to me?
The goal of doing a book tour is to find a book that your child will actually be interested in reading himself, independently. If your child is just starting to read, consider picking books that you can both enjoy and read together. Remember, read aloud books don’t have to be picture books. Even chapter books and novels make great read alouds! Consider reading to your older children as well.
With so many books, where do you even begin looking for quality children’s literature? I like to start with the award winners. The two most well know awards for children’s literature are the Caldecott Medal, awarded to picture books for their illustrations, and Newberry Award, awarded to chapter books/novels for their stories.
I also prefer recommending authors instead of individual books, as many authors have written on a wide variety of subjects and you are sure to find something you like from each. Having taught grades 3-8, and now homeschooling my oldest children, who recently finished kindergarten & first grade, I have been exposed to some amazing children’s authors. Below is a list of my favorites, many who are award winners, with links to their books on Amazon.
Jon Scieszka, David Shannon, Patricia Polacco, Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, Kate DiCamillo, Katherine Patterson, Andrew Clements, Jerry Spinelli, Seymore Simon, Mary Pope Osborne, Barbara Park, Lois Lowry, Gary Paulsen, Carl Hiaasen, Sharon Creech, Natalie Babbit, Louis Sachar, Cynthia Voigt, Jane Yolen, Scott O’Dell, Doreen Cronin, Shel Silverstein, Eric Carle, Pam Munoz Ryan, Ann M Martin, and E L Konigsburg.
The most important thing to do this summer is pick up a book and read. Travel to new places, meet new people, and experience new things, all within the pages of a book.