Summer Reading for Kids

Summer slide might sound like an exciting ride at a water park, but teachers and parents know it’s something to be avoided: the loss of reading-comprehension skills kids gained during the school year.

The best way to encourage this may have little to do with required reading lists, however. Students who read the most are usually those who are encouraged to do so for pleasure, not those who have to follow strict rules—says Jamie Lightfoot, MLS, school library teacher at Peirce Elementary School in Newton, Massachusetts.

So instead of setting goals or deadlines, try to find something your child wants to read about. Perfect for right now? Books about summer. “This is a relaxing time, and it’s nice to read fun, summer-oriented books,” says Lightfoot. “Kids need beach reads, too!”

Here are four of KIWI’s new summer reading favorites:

Pool by JiHyeon Lee
($17, Chronicle Books, ages 3-5)
When two quiet children meet at a crowded pool, they dive down deep to discover a whole new world of aquatic creatures. The story, told solely through the mesmerizing illustrations, allows your child to use her imagination to add her own narrative.

The Race to the Beach by Anna Shuttlewood
($17, Little Bee Books, ages 4-7)
Join your favorite zoo animals as they jump on a train and head for the beach. Cool watercolor illustrations capture the clamor of cheetahs, flamingos, warthogs, and other friends as they play in the sand and water. Try to guess which animal saves the day when one of her friends swims out too far!

The Longest Day: Celebrating the Summer Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer
($9, Puffin Books, ages 7-9)
This colorful book teaches kids about the history and science behind the longest day of the year. From explaining how animals adapt to the warmer weather to highlighting summer celebrations from around the world, this book is truly a nonfiction guide to most kids’ favorite season. Bonus: Check out the activity section for summer crafting ideas and instructions!

The Stars of Summer by Tara Dairman
($17, Penguin, ages 8 and up)
Eleven-year-old Gladys is a genuine foodie and budding chef who just published her first restaurant review. But when she heads off to summer camp, she’s disappointed by the cranky cook and her uninspired grub. Kids will relate to Gladys because she’s plucky and brave in the kitchen but wobbly and scared poolside, where her swim test looms like a dark cloud. This fast-paced book is full of surprises and likable characters who quickly learn not to judge a (cook)book by its cover.