The best books for your kids to read this summer


As parents, we exhale a little over the summer, don’t we? Freed from the rigor of school and homework, we ease up on our routines and bedtimes, and allow our children to enjoy more freedom to do what they want. But all this relaxation can come with a price that teachers call the “summer slide,” a real phenomenon in which children lose some of the academic gains they made the previous year. One researcher estimated that school summer breaks will cause the average student to lose up to one month of instruction, with disadvantaged students being disproportionately affected.

But we have good news: Reading is a proven way to help overcome the summer slide! According to research cited by the National Education Association, giving kids 12 books to read over the summer is as effective as summer school in raising the students’ reading scores! It might require some active parenting to get your child to exchange their handheld device for a book, but there are ways to make reading more appealing. Whether it’s by visiting garage sales or used bookstores for inexpensive books or by visiting your local library, aim to keep a steady stream of books at home.

Despite conventional wisdom, six in 10 children ages 6–17 agree “I really enjoy reading books over the summer” (62%), with the main reasons being “I just enjoy reading” and “It’s a fun way to pass the time.” — Scholastic

And if you just don’t know where to start when you’re at the library, we’re here to help! Several reputable groups make book recommendations for children each year. The state of Florida issues a Sunshine State books list, and the American Library Association publishes a list of “notable children’s books”; both of these are broken down by age. And there’s a long list of the prestigious Newbery Award winners. Pick up a few of these books listed below to enrich your child’s summer!

Find the ALA list here, and the Newbery Award list hereAnd below are some of the Sunshine State books for 2018-19:

Grades K-2

  • I Am Not a Chair. By Ross Burach.
  • Prince Ribbit. By Jonathan Emmet.
  • Jabari Jumps. By Gaia Cornwell.
  • The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors. By Drew Daywalt.
  • You Don’t Want a Unicorn! By Age Dyckman.
  • Be Quiet! By Ryan T. Higgins.

Grades 3-5

  • The Ark Plan. By Laura Martin.
  • The Doublecross: (And Other Skills I Learned as a Superspy). By Jackson Pearce.
  • Dragons and Marshmallows. By Asia Citro.
  • The Great Treehouse War. By Lisa Graff.
  • Home Sweet Motel. By Chris Grabenstein.
  • I Love you, Michael Collins. By Lauren Baratz-Logsted.

Grades 6-8

  • Click’d. By Tamara Ireland Stone.
  • A Crack in the Sea. By H.M Bouwman.
  • Surrender the Key. By DJ Machale.
  • The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora. By Pablo Cartaya.
  • Eureka Key. By Sarah Thomson.
  • Firefly Code. By Megan Frazer Blakemore.

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