June 01, 2016

Great Summer Reads for Students in Grades K-6

books-to-check-out-from-library-k-6I can’t believe this time of year is here already. It’s time to share some of my favorite kid-lit titles for summer reading.  Studies show that children who do not read or have access to books during the summer lose up to two months of reading skills. All children, whether from low, middle, or upper-income families, may fall victim to the “summer slide” if not provided with summer reading opportunities.  

In my own children’s early elementary years, I read daily to my two boys—keeping them surrounded with books from the library, book sales, and my own stacks of children’s books from my classroom teaching days. Once they started reading longer chapter books and throughout middle and high school, everyone in our family committed to reading 10 books each summer. Since we don’t get out of school for summer vacation until late June, this ends up being an average of a book a week for July/August, and early September. This always includes at least one audiobook from a summer road trip. We can all still recall the books we’ve listened to in relation to the trips we were on at the time.  

To get you started on your family’s summer reading adventures, I’ve listed my top ten (ok, maybe my top 12) favorite summer picture books, early chapter books for grades K-2, and middle-grade chapter books geared for grades 3-6. Be sure and visit your local library, and spend time with some of these great summer reads.  


Picture Books

1. Ice Cream Summer by Peter Sis

2. Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton

3. Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach, by Melanie Watt

4. The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli

5. Punk Skunks by Trisha Speed Shaskan

6. Pink is for Blobfish by Jess Keating

7. Waiting for High Tide by Nikki McClure

8. Chicken in Space by Adam Lehrhaupt

9. Surf’s Up by Kwame Alexander

10. Are We There Yet? By Dan Santat

11. I Am Yoga by Peter Reynolds

12. Thunderboy Jr. by Sherman Alexie


Early Chapter Books (Grades K-2)

1. Don’t Throw it to Mo! by David A. Adler

2. Get a Hit, Mo! by David A. Adler 

3. Owl Diaries Series 1-4 by Rebecca Elliott

4. Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny Series by John Himmelman 

5. The Loopy Coop Series by Janet Morgan Stoeke 

6. Hedge Hedgy, Hedgehogs by Bonnie Bader

7. Pig, Piggy, Pigs by Bonnie Bader

8. Hamster Princess Series by Ursula Vernon

9. Little Shaq Series by Shaquille O’Neal

10. What Are the Summer Olympics? by Gail Herman 

11. The Story of Diva and Flea by Mo Willems

12. Dory Fantasmagory Series by Abby Hanlon

Learn how Reading Horizons includes decodable texts in our elementary reading curriculum


Middle Grade (Grades 3-6)

1. Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

2. Three Times Lucky Series by Sheila Turnage 

3. One Crazy Summer Trilogy by Rita Williams-Garcia

4. Pax by Sarah Pennypacker 

5. The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

6. Soar by Joan Bauer

7. Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eager 

8. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

9. All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor

10. Cody and Fountain of Happiness by Tricia Springstubb

11. Cody and the Mysteries of the Universe by Tricia Springstubb

12. Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban

Learn more about Reading Horizons non-fiction leveled reading passages from our reading intervention program for grades 4+.

1 Comment

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Karen L said

Laura, This list is fabulous! (And so happy to see Dory on it - one of our favorites). Any suggestion for an incoming 4th grader obsessed with little else that Percy Jackson & greek mythology? He especially appreciates that Percy has ADHD. We are trying to diversify his repertoire.

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