Saturday, June 4, 2016

Summer Reading 2016

Summer Reading! Such a joy….such an opportunity…such a blessing…such a burden? So much depends on who’s reading and why. 

Recently, some friends have asked me for summer reading recommendations after talking with their kids, or their kid’s teachers. I’m never short on opinions about the topic of reading. I have collected some resources. I’ll share.

Let me start by stating the obvious….the biggest resource any child has in becoming a reader for pleasure is Y.O.U. 

Human beings learn by copy-catting in some way--including reading. If you are a caring adult in a young person’s life and you hand them a bag of books or recommendations for how to become a strong reader and expect them to say thank you, march off to their room to get right on those recs…well, it’s not likely the young person will magically change into a strong reader when they return to you.

Studies show that simply providing reading material to kids doesn’t make them better readers. Providing opportunities to talk, write, draw, text, pantomime or respond to reading in any way with other human beings about reading is what really makes the difference in strengthening the reading muscles, so to speak.

See what research James Kim has to say in a super short video about how to talk to kids about reading. I use the same questions he talks about with preschoolers with much older kids.
Dr. James Kim

Even though listening to your kid read the Garfield comics aloud to you can be excruciating…’s the retelling and the sharing of what that child finds funny that is stretching their learning and desire to read more. The truth is, kids will want to share reading with you that they find interesting. 

Adults may need to find ways to increase their stamina for being involved in this process of a child reading and sharing what they have read.

Really, there is no magic list….there are simply books and kids. Connecting them is the important part. Maybe adults need to make a little bit of room in their life to listen to the finer points of mine craft.

These are some of the resources I’ve collected as a parent and middle school librarian to use for reading with my own kids over the summer.

Scholastic’s (not for babies—my words, not theirs) Book BingoScholastic Book Bingo

There are lots more Book and Reading Bingo games on the internet one can search for.

State reading lists. Virginia’s state list is called the Virginia Reader’s Choice Award. This list is made up of books nominated by the Va. Reading Association as best in children’s literature. Students read the books during the school year and then vote on their favorite leading it to be the “state choice” of kids in that particular year.

The strength of the VRC list is that titles are noteworthy, recently published and of high literary quality. One other aspect—that I can’t quite it a challenge-- is that these are books adults think are good for kids. I am a huge VRC fan. These are the books I read aloud for my family.

Virginia Readers Choice nominees past and present as well as winners: Virginia Readers Choice

Association for Library Service to Children (part of the American Library Association) has been making summer reading recommendations for a century!

School Lists. Each school in the system that I work in develops and publishes its own recommended summer reading list. These lists are found on the school media center page AND are kept electronically and in print at county library branches.

Books make it on 
to this list after two school staff members have read and recommended the book. Again, this is what adults think is good for kids. My school list is at this link (at the bottom of the page in quick links):

Click around the country to various schools and check out their lists…school libraries are GREAT resources!

Guys Read. This is a great resource of books and author information compiled by former Ambassador for Children’s Literature, Jon Scieszka.
Guys Read

Girls of Summer.  An incredible reading list and project created by authors Meg Medina, Gigi Amenteau and the Richmond, Virginia Public Library. Great titles!
Girls of Summer Reading

I’m sure there are dozens and dozens more links that I will think of as soon as I hit publish on this blog posting.

If you have another great resource please share in the comments. There are adults all over the world wanting to see their kids involved in reading this summer. I would love some recommendations for my kids too!


  1. The Ultimate Diverse Summer Reading List for Kids!
    Thank you Here Wee Read blog

  2. Another great list of books with printable bingo cards and the like. Thank you Multicultural Kid Blogs

  3. Great article on "Slowing the Summer Slide" by Librarian Becky Calzada

    "What is summer slide? Summer slide is the loss of academic skills over summer vacation....."

  4. Fabulous resources, Linda! I like this concept: "Providing opportunities to talk, write, draw, text, pantomime or respond to reading in any way with other human beings about reading is what really makes the difference in strengthening the reading muscles, so to speak." I've witness this with my own children.

  5. Free audio books (current & great titles) for teens:
    2016 SYNC Audiobook Downloads
    SYNC Teen Audiobooks

  6. Barns & Noble Summer Reading Triathalon 2016

  7. Goodreads Summer Reading recs

  8. YA Reading for Grown-Up Readers.
    Summer Reading Recommendations: a Dive Into Young Adult Fiction
    From Edutopia:

  9. Thanks for the tip, Pragmatic Mom!
    For reluctant readers Middle Grade age--Galactic Hot Dogs:


Friendly, positive comments and feedback are always welcome here. Please let me know I'm not just whistling in the dark!