Avoid the “summer slide”

Six great books to read this summer

summer slide

Summer is almost here! To avoid the “summer slide” (when students lose academic gains made over the school year), make it a habit to have your child read independently for at least 30 minutes every day. Summer is a great time for kids to read popular series such as Dork Diaries or Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but I also recommend sprinkling in books that build historical or scientific knowledge, or that teach strong character skills. Check out some favorites below from English Language Arts teachers at my school.


Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Age range: Grades 3-6
A young girl living in World War II saves her best friend from Nazi soldiers. This beautiful story is based on the true event of Denmark’s resistance effort to smuggle its Jewish citizens to Sweden before Hitler could reach them. The heroine, Annemarie Johansen, shows courage and compassion in tough situations. This book not only teaches kids about an important time in history, but it’s also a page turner! A must for any kid interested in history.
– From Eva Kohlmoos, 4th grade English Language Arts teacher


Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
Age range: Grades 4-adult
What is it like to have fully formed thoughts in your brain but not be able to communicate any of them? We take this journey, with all its heartbreaks and victories, through the eyes of a young girl with cerebral palsy. This book will make you laugh, make you cry, and most importantly, make you see the world from a different point of view. The book is accessible for kids as young as fourth grade, but the content is engaging for kids and grown-ups of all ages.
– From Eva Kohlmoos, 4th grade English Language Arts teacher


Superfudge by Judy Blume
Age range: Grades 2-5
This book is both humorous and heartfelt. I love watching kids make connections to their own lives (and laugh really hard!) when they get to know the main character, Peter, and his both entertaining and exasperating little brother, Fudge.
– From Katie Austin, 3rd grade English Language Arts teacher


Mr. Lincoln’s Way by Patricia Polacco
Age range: Grades 1-adult
This story is a true lesson on treating all people with respect and dignity. With her beautiful construction of words and pictures, Polacco makes this book unforgettable. I love reading this story with my students to remind them that we are a family and that we embrace our differences because they are what make us special!
– From Katie Austin, 3rd grade English Language Arts teacher


Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
Age range: Grades 4 – 6
Esperanza is the daughter of a wealthy farmer in Mexico. After several family tragedies, Esperanza and her mother move to the United States, where they become migrant farmers. While Esperanza begins the story as a rather spoiled young girl, the many trials of her childhood quicky force her to mature into a young woman. This story explores the themes of class and privilege, as well as teaching a powerful lesson about how the events around us shape who we become.
– From Arlyn Gilmore, Upper elementary literacy coach



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