The school year is quickly coming to an end, which means it's time for new schedules, road trips, camping and sunny days. Although it can feel like a bit of an uphill battle during the summer months, it is important for parents to equip children and teenagers with books they will enjoy throughout the warmer months.
With that in mind, I've compiled a guide for parents of some of my favourite books to read with students during the summer. Appropriate for students from preschool to high school, each of these stories should inspire all summer long, as well as strengthen literacy skills gained during the school year.
by Maurice Sendak
This childhood favourite is an easy-to-follow story that will spark the imagination. Where the Wild Things Are is a fantastic book for children heading into summer, providing them with inspiration for the amazing adventures their imaginations can dream up.
Early Elementary (Grades 1 – 3)
by Shel Silverstein
Children are taught about unconditional love and generosity in this beautiful story as they learn about a tree and the tree's unending self-sacrifice for the little boy that she loves. The story carries readers through the life of the boy, and children will see how the tree continues to give until she has nothing left.
by Roald Dahl
This is another classic story that still resonates with children today. James, who tragically loses his parents, must live with his horrible aunts. His life changes forever when he is given a bag of magic crystals by a mysterious man. James is sent on an adventure that rolls him away from his misery and begins a strange and hilarious journey.
Late Elementary (Grades 4 – 6)
My Side of the Mountain
by Jean Craighead George
Sam, who is completely sick and tired of his crowded and unpleasant life in the city, runs away to the mountains. He discovers he must find a way to survive on his own, using only his wits and the few tools he has brought with him. My Side of the Mountain is a very appealing story for summer break and is sure to ignite the desire for adventure in children as they enter their pre-teen years.
by Louis de Bernières
Red Dog is a charming story about a dog named Red, who loses his owner in an accident. Not understanding that his beloved owner will not return, Red spends the rest of his life looking for him. This captivating story takes readers through Red's adventures and teaches lessons about independence and motivation.
by Roland Smith
When Peak Marcello is arrested for climbing buildings, he is given a choice: go to juvenile detention in New York City, or move across the world to live with his estranged father. His father runs a mountain climbing company, and readers quickly find out that reconnecting with Peak is driven by financial gain for his company rather than by love. This novel is full of action and is ideal to read outdoors during the warm summer months.
by Stacey Lee
A fantastic story about survival, the power of friendship and trust, Under a Painted Sky takes place in 1849 on the Oregon Trail. The story follows the dangerous trek of two teenagers, Samantha and Annamae, who each must flee their homes and find a better life for themselves. Although this novel deals with some hard issues like racism, slavery and murder, the underlying message is that trust and friendship conquer hardships.
Whether it's on the grass in the backyard, around the campfire or on a road trip pit-stop, I strongly encourage families to continue the literacy momentum during the summer.
If you notice your child or teenager struggling with reading or with math skills, The Reading Foundation is here to support his or her unique learning journey.
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