Keep Those Kids Reading This Summer

BlogHer Original Post

FLIP - Praça da MatrizAs children jump off the bus singing, “School’s out for summer,” parents everywhere begin to panic about keeping their children occupied during those long, hot summer months. I loved summer as a kid. It was easy, breezy and relaxed. I often curled up under (or in) a tree and read for hours upon hours. Of course, I didn’t have the wealth of technology at my fingertips that kids these days do, but I still think that summer reading is important for our children.

Many libraries put on summer reading programs in an attempt to keep kids reading. Many schools also send home "recommended reading" lists for the next grade. But the lure of technology still has our kids firmly in its grasp.

In a great way of combining kids’ love of technology and the importance of reading, Scholastic created You Are What You Read, which is a social media site that allows members to create their “Bookprint,” or a list of 5 books that shaped who they are. (A separate community exists for those readers under 13 with age appropriate books.) It’s been around since October and 15,000 people have joined. The site just released the top 10 lists of Most Influential books... with two separate lists by adults and kids. Take a look at what they said were the best.

Adult List

  • 1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • 2. The Holy Bible
  • 3. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • 4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • 5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • 6. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • 7. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • 8. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • 9. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • 10. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Kid List

  • 1. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  • 2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  • 3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  • 4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  • 5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • 6. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
  • 7. Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
  • 8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
  • 9. The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan
  • 10. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

I think it’s funny how the lists differ so greatly. If I asked my five year old and he listed off a few character based books, a book about bones (his latest obsession) and The Lorax. My three year old said, “I like them all, Mommy!” Good call! Anyway, while your kids aren’t likely to sit down and read the whole Bible this summer, the kids list provides a bunch of books that may make for a great reading list.

Have your kids read all of those books? Or maybe they're not interested in those ones or they aren't quite age appropriate yet. I hopped around some other blogs looking for some great reading lists for kids of varied ages. Here’s what I found:

One last tip? Let your kid see you reading this summer. Sure, you’ve still got to work and cook and do the laundry and manage to keep your kids entertained, but there’s something awesome about curling up with a book in a sunbeam. Set the example. (Unsure of what to read? Check out our Book Club!)

What do you do to keep your kids reading in the summer? Do you have a book that a certain age group simply must read this summer? Share it with us.

Family Section Editor Jenna Hatfield (@FireMom) blogs at Stop, Drop and Blog and The Chronicles of Munchkin Land. She is a freelance writer and photographer.

Photo Credit: felipemiguel.

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