Summer reading is essential for kids to retain, practice, and improve upon the reading skills they developed during the school year. Studies show that reading ability declines when students don’t read or read infrequently throughout the summer. To boost your kids’ confidence and instill a lifelong love for the magic of reading, we’ve compiled a list of fantastic elementary summer reading suggestions!
Summer Reading Suggestions: Grades K-2
We Are Growing!
by Laurie Keller
Walt and his friends are growing up fast and just starting to realize everyone is changing. One friend is the tallest, one is the curliest, and one is the silliest, but what is Walt? Readers can learn how everyone is special in their own way!
Lazy Bear, Crazy Hair
by Kevin Bolger
Lazy Bear, Crazy Hair is a collection of quirky cartoons designed to teach all five long vowel sounds. This text is perfect for beginner readers learning to decode – and seasoned readers who need to refresh their skills. Don’t forget to check out the companion book, Gran on a Fan, for short vowel sounds practice.
First Grade, Here I Come!
by Nancy Carlson
Henry’s not sure how he feels about first grade after his first day. Maybe some kickball, reading, and yummy tuna melts will change his mind! First Grade, Here I Come! is a great way to address any uncertainties your soon-to-be first grader may be experiencing.
Jack at the Zoo
by Mac Barnett
Jack at the Zoo is part of an early reader series about a mischievous rabbit, a cranky old lady, and a lovable dog. In this adventure at the zoo, a case of mistaken identity leads to trouble for Jack. Will Jack be able to find his way home, or will he get stuck at the zoo forever?
What Do People Do All Day?
by Richard Scarry
Go on a fun visit to Busytown and learn how different people spend their days – whether they’re a construction worker, a firefighter, a doctor, or another occupation. This story will keep readers engaged from page to page!
The Giving Tree
by Shel Silverstein
In this classic story, a little boy visits a tree every day to eat her apples, swing from her branches, and slide down her trunk. As the boy gets older, he wants more from the tree and learns a valuable lesson about giving to others.
The Adventures of Taxi Dog
by Sal and Debra Barracca
Maxi, a homeless dog in New York City, has always fended for himself while roaming the city streets until he meets a kind taxi driver named Jim. Maxi and Jim form an inseparable bond of friendship as they take on the city together!
Mercy Watson to the Rescue
by Kate DiCamillo
To Mr. and Mrs. Watson, Mercy is not just a pig – she’s a porcine wonder with a passion for buttered toast. Mercy’s love for toast leads her to many mishaps in this comical story. Readers can embark on Mercy’s other adventures in this six-book series.
Tiger vs. Nightmare
by Emily Tetri
Tiger is friends with the monster who lives under her bed. Instead of scaring Tiger, Monster scares away her nightmares – until one night, her nightmare is too scary to take on alone. In this charming story, readers learn how unlikely friends can become an unstoppable team, even against the most frightening monsters.
My Toothbrush is Missing
by Jan Thomas
My Toothbrush is Missing is a silly story about a dog on the search for his toothbrush. This easy read is sure to have your little ones laughing out loud!
Summer Reading Suggestions: Grades 3-5
by Judy Blume
Andrew is extremely jealous of his classmate Nicky who has freckles that cover his face. He is willing to do just about anything to get freckles like Nicky and ends up paying the price. Freckle Juice is a terrific story to ease your reader into chapter books.
How to Be Cool in the Third Grade
by Betsy Duffey
Robbie is old enough to know that surviving school depends on one thing – knowing what’s cool. However, he doesn’t know what’s considered “cool” in third grade and comes to realize he’s in for a year full of surprises. Young readers will cheer on Robbie through his journey in this gentle chapter book.
by Janell Cannon
This story follows the adventures of a lost baby bat after she’s accidentally dropped into a nest of bird fledglings. Stellaluna must learn how to fit in with her new family, even though she can’t help being different. Stellaluna offers a twist on the popular ugly duckling theme and is sure to become a new favorite!
Finding the Titanic
by Robert Ballard
Finding the Titanic describes the historical significance of the Titanic at a simple reading level. This nonfiction book goes into detail about the voyage, the accident that caused it to sink, and the rescue of those who survived. Throughout the book, your child can see real-life photos and complete skill-building activities.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
by Judy Blume
Peter Hatcher is in fourth grade and lives with his parents and his mischievous little brother, Fudge. Fudge is known for creating chaos in the lives of his family with his antics and pranks. This humorous novel is the first installment in the Judy Blume series “Fudge” and is relatable for kids with younger siblings.
Wedgie and Gizmo
by Suzanne Selfors
Wedgie and Gizmo is an imaginative story about a rambunctious dog and an evil genius guinea pig who are forced to live in the same house together. Gizmo is not looking to share his loyal human with anyone, and Wedgie loves Gizmo – almost as much as his treats. This unlikely duo will find themselves needing each other in this entertaining, action-packed chapter book.
The Tale of Despereaux
by Kate DiCamillo
Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse in love with music, stories, and a human princess named Pea. Princess Pea gets captured by a group of rats, and Despereaux must set out on a quest to rescue her. After reading this venturesome tale, treat your kids to a movie night with the 2008 film adaption.
by Roald Dahl
Sophie is in for the adventure of a lifetime after meeting the Big Friendly Giant (BFG), who captures good dreams and gives them to children at night. As their friendship grows, Sophie’s presence attracts the unwanted attention of man-gobbling giants. In this classic tale, Sophie and the BFG must work together to free the world of these evil giants.
From an Idea to Disney: How Imagination Built a World of Magic
by Lowey Bundy Sichol
From an Idea to Disney is a behind-the-scenes read about the history, business, and branding of the world’s largest entertainment empire. It all started a long time ago with two brothers and a dream. This nonfiction read will surely entertain and capture the attention of many Disney-loving readers.
by Andrew Clements
Fifth-grader Nick Allen has a creative mind, and he comes up with new ideas to make school “cooler” every year. This year he decides to change the word “pen” to “frindle” as a harmless prank to annoy his dictionary-obsessed teacher. Suddenly word spreads around town, and Nick finds himself in the middle of a media frenzy over the term “frindle.” Frindle has an exciting storyline to encourage readers to use their imagination and think-outside-the-box!
by Roald Dahl
Matilda is a sweet, exceptional young girl, but her parents seem to think of her as a nuisance. When Matilda gets attacked by the evil headmistress of her school, Miss Trunchbull, she discovers she has remarkable powers. Matilda must learn how to balance her powers, her parents, and Miss Trunchbull altogether. This heartwarming story was transformed into a movie in 1996 and is still popular today!
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
by Robert C. O’Brien
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH tells the story of a widowed field mouse whose home is in danger but is unable to move due to her ill son. Mrs. Frisby must get advice on how to safely move her children and calls in help from the highly trained rats of NIMH. Throughout her journey, she uncovers details about her husband and the past that she would’ve never imagined.
Number the Stars
by Lois Lowry
This award-winning novel tells the story of 10-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her experience during the Holocaust. As German troops begin to “relocate” all the Jewish people of Denmark, the Johansen family takes in Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen Rosen. Annemarie walks readers through her new life and how much has changed during this inconceivable time. Number the Stars is beautifully written and emphasizes the importance of kindness and bravery.
I Survived Series
by Lauren Tarshis
The I Survived series is an excellent resource about the most memorable natural disasters and events in history. The series consists of 19 books, each focusing on a specific event – such as the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the attacks of September 11th, Hurricane Katrina, and many others. This New York Times-bestselling series is a fantastic way to educate readers on these life-changing events from the past.
When trying to get your children excited about reading, the best thing you can do is help them find books that match their interests. Letting kids choose the books they want to read is a great way to keep them engaged.
We hope this list helps encourage young readers to exercise their brains this summer and keep up with their skills! Don’t forget to check out our blogs on reading techniques and activities to keep your kids active this summer:
• Different Reading Techniques and When to Use Them
• 12 Outdoor Summer Activities for Families