Summer is here and along with it is plenty of time to relax, enjoy our kids, and make memories! One of our favorite summer activities cost little to no money, and my kids enjoy it year after year. It could still count as “school” but, the kids don’t know that! What is it?
We all know how important reading is for our kids. Children who are good readers typically do better in school. Reading helps kids become fluent, independent readers. Reading opens up learning opportunities, helps kids to develop empathy, opens the door for new ideas, and encourages a good imagination. This is why summer reading is so important!
Many of us have closed the books for the summer, and while we know learning doesn’t have to happen when school is “in session”, in reality, summer is usually when we allow our children to have “downtime”. Learning may not stop, but it slows down. Thankfully though we can encourage our children to continue to learn throughout the summer with a great selection of summer reading titles and by participating in summer reading programs.
Where Can I Find a Summer Reading Program?
Summer reading programs are in full swing across the country and the opportunities for learning abound. Our library does this each year, and we always participate. The kids have to read 10 books, and then get a prize and free book upon completion. They also offer craft and educational programs throughout the summer. Many other places offer summer reading as well like Barnes and Noble Stores, Chuck E Cheese, Books a Million and more.
Benefits of Summer Reading Programs
There are many benefits to participating in a summer reading program.
Summer reading programs:
- Encourage reading to become a lifelong habit
- Offer activities for those who may be reluctant readers
- Reading over the summer helps children keep their academic skills up
- Studies have found that children who take part in their libraries summer reading program significantly improve their reading skills.
We participate in our libraries summer reading program each year. My kids LOVE the library and love to participate in the fun hands-on literature related activities they offer.
Reading Suggestions for Summer Reading
I try to have a sample reading list ahead of time for each child to ensure they pick out good, quality literature. Yes, I let them make their own selections, but I also recommend a few titles that I think they will like.
Through the years, we have read countless books. Many of these I believe would be great for most children. Here are a few of our favorites that you may consider putting on your summer reading list.
Babies and Toddlers
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, By Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle (there are a few in this series like Baby Bear, and Panda Bear that are also great!)
- Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd
- Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram
- Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson
- Babies (So Tall Board Book) by Gyo Fujikawa
- Peekaboo Books (babies LOVE these types of books)
- Are You My Mother by P.D. Eastman
- Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
- If You give a Mouse A Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond
- Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
- Edwina, the Dinosaur that didn’t know she was extinct by Mo Willems
- Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
- Corduroy by Don Freeman
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
- Seuss Books
- Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin and James Dean
- Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Aweibel
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett
- Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems
- Splat the Cat by Rob Scotten.
- Amelia Bedeliabooks by Peggy Parrish
- Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
- Harry the Dirty Dogby Gene Zion
- Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne
- Historical American Girl Series (Authors Vary)
- Circle C Beginnings by Susan K. Marlow
- Bindi Wildlife Adventures by Bindi Irwin and Jess Black
- Magic School Bus series by Joanna Coleand Bruce Degen
- Sisters in Time (Authors Vary)
These books we have not read, but they have gotten rave reviews from other homeschool moms and are on my kids summer reading lists.
- Frindle by Andrew Clements
- Runaway Ralph . by Beverly Cleary
- Summer with Elisa by Johanna Hurwitz and Debbie Tilley
- The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid Banks
- By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman
- Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
- Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
- Hol es by Louis Sachar (Newbery Medal winner, 1999)
- Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien and Zena Bernstein
- Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Fiderle
Have you ever heard the phrase “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents”? I wholeheartedly agree with that statement! Read alouds are a favorite in our home. We have read every book on this list, and my kids love to have that time together as a family. Our read aloud time is during lunch, but really, you can carve out time anywhere in your day to sit down and read a book as a family. Just find a time that works for you!
Read Alouds for the Whole Family
- Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
- Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh and Leonard Weisgard
- The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
- Charlotte’s Web by EB White
- Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- All of a Kind Family by Sidney Taylor
- Mr. Poppers Penguins by Richard Atwater
- Winnie the Pooh by A.A.Milne
- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
- Animal Stories by Thornton Burgess
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- In Grandma’s Attic by Arlette Richardson
So, take this list, or make your own and go to the library! Summer reading programs are a great way to keep the learning going all summer long :)