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Explore Summer Reading with these Five Top Picks!

We know summertime can provide opportunities for kids to accelerate reading and experience the social-emotional impact of good literature and stories. Research has shown that in a typical year, summer reading supports skill gains, and its absence leads to widening skill gaps. In addition, reading helps children discover new favorite books, explore different genres to discover what kinds of books they like to read while staying on-track for the next school year.

One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by.”

– Jeannette Walls, Author & Journalist

The selection of books we have curated are intentionally different from books children might read during the school year. Some are fanciful or fantasy (dogs that accompany their kid-owners to school, for example), most have pictures (illustrations and infographics, or graphic novels); and most can be read in short bursts, for example in the car or during thirty-minute reading bursts – which work especially well in building capacity in reluctant readers.

Grades Kindergarten to Second

The Rock from the Sky written and illustrated by Jon Klassen

A beautiful work of art with a hilarious story to go with it by Caldecott winner Jon Klassen. This picture book will be read and re-read by your family, and each time the thoughts and discussion around the story will be different. Turtle and Armadillo leave one stone unturned when it falls from the sky, right in Turtle’s favorite hangout spot. It’s a good thing he meandered out of the way in time! This inspires their simple chats about the ever-changing landscape, including the potential ominous cryptid creatures that might make their way into their environment. It’s not really possible to perfectly sum up a Klassen book – it’s truly something one needs to experience to fully appreciate.

Wild Symphony written by Dan Brown, illustrated by Susan Batori

Davinci Code author Dan Brown brings us a book that has a code to crack throughout. Children and adults can enjoy this as a traditional read-along, or can choose to listen to original musical compositions as they read – one for each animal – with a free interactive smartphone app. This book brings music, animals, instruments, and word searches all together.

Grades Third to Fourth

Scientists Get Dressed written by Deborah Lee Rose

Have you ever wondered what kinds of clothing and personal equipment are needed for a volcanologist or a glaciologist? Eighteen different people are introduced with the gear they need to collect data for their scientific studies and protect themselves. In addition to briefly describing what they actually do as scientists there are lots of facts about the sorts of things they research. Colorful and packed with photographs, the book uses two fonts and types of information, one for younger readers and one with more information for older readers.

Two Dogs in a Trenchcoat (series) written by Julie Falatko

Hilarious stories about dogs that wear clothes so they can attend school with their owners. Dog antics and adventures include starting a school club, going on a class trip, and even participating in a school play.

Grades Fifth to Eighth

Me and the World: An Infographic Exploration written by Mireia Trius, Illustrated by Joana Casals

This fascinating book pairs visual literacy with data literacy, using colorful illustrations and infographics to present information in a way young readers will understand. The infographics focus on personal things like family structure, most popular names, living spaces, and breakfast foods in different places in our world. It also looks more broadly at things like world population, city populations, traffic in cities, schools, and homework. There are more light hearted infographics too like most popular dog breeds, summer vacations, sports, and birthdays. The author found a way to make data and statistics fun!

Whenever and wherever, reading can be an amazing activity to have some fun and bond with your child this summer. Bring some summer-themed books with you to the beach or to the pool, cuddle up at home when it’s too hot outside, or explore with them in a favorite backyard hide-out to jumpstart your summer reading adventure!

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