Oh, a book and a beach...two of my favorite things.
Summertime presents the perfect opportunity for people of all ages to read just for the fun of it. While parents should always monitor book selections for age and content appropriateness, children should be given a significant amount of freedom in choosing reading materials. I found a brief article at The Washington Post about this issue at The Reading Tub blog.
Today, I thought I'd compile a list of the series books that my own children enjoyed between the ages of 5 and 9, although most of them will also be appreciated by older children (up to about the age of 12). It's a wonderful thing to find a series your child really enjoys, because it will keep him or her busy for a while! Here are some books that have the potential to turn reluctant readers into avid readers:
David A. Adler is a wonderful children's author. He's written many biographies, but he is best known for his mystery series for newly independent readers. Young Cam Jansen is a fantastic "Easy to Read" series. Children love the "girl with the photographic memory," and love to solve a good mystery. Once they get the hang of these easy readers, they can progress to the more challenging Cam Jansen series, which can be used when children are ready for the transition to chapter books. David Adler also recently started a similar series, called Bones, but this time the detective is a boy.
Debbie Dadey (librarian) and Marcia T. Jones (reading teacher) jointly wrote The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids. Scary things are happening at Bailey Elementary, and one teacher, Mrs. Jeepers, is a very mysterious character indeed! Children between the ages of 8 and 12 who don't mind a little bit of a scare will be fascinated by this series. This pair has just started a new fantasy series called Keyholders that you might want to try. You can find out more if you read a great interview with Debbie Dadey at The Reading Tub blog.
R.L. Stine wrote a scarier series that my son loved, Goosebumps. It's written for children between the ages of 9 and 12. Even though it's scary, there is also humor in it, and the endings are usually pretty lighthearted. Scholastic also has a special web site with related online activities for kids.
Dav Pilkey has a very silly, "bathroom humor" type series called Captain Underpants that my son adored when he was between 7 and 9. The illustrations make these books kind of a cross between a comic book and a graphic novel. Many boys love this type of humor around this age. Parents may not be big fans, but it may get the most reluctant reader to read!
Ben M. Baglio wrote a series about animals that my daughter loved, Animal Ark. She wanted to be a veterinarian around the time she was in second and third grade, so these books were very appealing to her. They're also for the 9 - 12 age range.
Kathryn Lasky beautifully wrote a more challenging series about animals in her series, Guardians of Ga'hoole. While this series is recommended for the 9-14 age range, it is written for very strong independent readers. It also makes a great read aloud with a parent! Please note that Amazon does not seem to have a first book in the series available.
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor has a great Alice series of realistic fiction for girls. The main character starts off in third grade and gets herself into many embarrassing situations that all girls can relate to. Be careful, though, because as your child progresses through the series, and Alice gets older, some of the themes are too mature for the 8-12 age range. If you look at some of the Amazon details for some of the later books, they are considered YA books. Parents should decide which books are appropriate for their daughter as she grows along with Alice.
These books bring back a lot of memories! I hope your independent readers will enjoy some of these fun books. I will continue this series next week. In the meantime, here are two more great articles I found at The Book Whisperer blog:
- In Defense of Summer Reading Freedom (book suggestions for teenagers, too)
My absolute favorite thing to do during the summer is to read a book at the beach. It doesn't have to be a classic or anything, just something that I can enjoy along with the waves...until my children jump into them and I have to be on high alert once again!
I hope you and your family find ways to relax and read this summer. If you'd like to add to my list, or tell us what you think about summer reading selections, feel free!