Getting Your Kids to Read Over the Summer

Once the school sessions end for the summer, getting your children to read can be a challenging task. It is a time when swimming pools, street fairs, backyard barbecues, and fireworks seem to be the only “classes” on most people’s agendas.

Encouraging your children to read over the summer will keep their reading skills sharp, as well as introduce them to the pleasure of reading.
To help get your children started, we contacted school teachers and librarians for their book recommendations.

Jane Chisaki, librarian and formerly the children’s librarian at the Alameda Free Library, recommends One Lonely Sea Horse, by Saxton Freymann, and See You Later, Gladiator, by Jon Scieszka, for pre-school children. Recommendations for older children include The Elevator Family, by Douglas Evans, and Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo.

Alameda schools use book lists created by the American Library Association. Recommendations from those lists include, for young readers, The Full Belly Bowl, by Jim Aylesworth. It is a story about a magical bowl and how it changes the life of a man and his cat. Also on the list, for ages 3-6, is the book My Goose Betsy, by Trudi Braun, about the story of a young girl and her pet.

For those preparing to enter school in the fall, parents may want to read Off To School, Baby Duck!, a book for ages four to six, a story about Baby Duck’s apprehension as the first day of school draws near.

For older children, the ALA’s recommendations include All Alone in the Universe, by Lynne Rae Perkins. This tale, for grades five through eight, is about a friend who dumps Debbie, the main character, and how she copes with the situation. On a lighter note, Dolphin Luck, by Hilary McKay, is about the adventures of Perry, Ant, Beany, and Sundance when Mr. and Mrs. Robinson go away, leaving them in the care of relatives. Dolphin Luck is recommended for grades four through six.

For grades two through five, My Man Blue, by Nikki Grimes, is the story of a fatherless boy who finds an older, male mentor. Another recommendation, The Perilous Journey of the Donner Party, by Marlan Calabro, tells the tale of the ill-fated wagon train in a candid, but unsensationalistic, manner. It is recommended for grades five through eight.

For older children in grades five through nine, Kathleen Krull’s book, They Saw The Future: Oracles, Psychics, Scientists, Great Thinkers, and Pretty Good Guessers is sure to keep your children intrigued. Girls in grades five through nine will especially like Gypsy Rizka, by Lloyd Alexander, which combines a strong heroine, enthralling story, and eloquent humor to tell the tale of an orphan girl.

You can find more recommendations by visiting the American Library Association web site, www.ala.org.

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