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Summer reading

Vacation time, with books!

What does summer reading bring to mind? For me, it means light reading, fun reading, just-for-the-heck-of-it reading. I always pack books: paperbacks for the beach, e-books for long trips, and some just because they're too good to leave behind.

Children should be able to read lighter fare during the summer, too. And there are lots of books that are ideal for summer reading.

Summer reading incentive programs

Sometimes it takes more than a new book to keep a child reading. If you're finding that your reader needs a nudge, here are some summer incentive programs that may spark some page turning. It truly seems as though everyone is offering an incentive program this year. Just about every program includes tips, booklists, and some sort of tracking mechanism.

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Summer reading lists

Today is the last day of school! It's a welcome relief from all the test stress we've been experiencing. But staring in the face of long days and weeks of a hot summer have me thinking about ways to keep my two daughters engaged with books this summer. One way I hope to keep them reading is by finding lots of new titles for them to read. Here are four resources for kids' books that I'm looking at. Please add yours too. Together, we can keep our kids reading all summer long!

Summer reading: who doesn't love it?

We love summer reading. That wonderful feeling that comes with kicking back with a book we've been yearning to read all year. Thick books like Wolf Hall, by Hillary Mantel that transport you back to 16th century England. True stories like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. These are just of two books stacked up near my imaginary hammock.

How do you hear about great new kids' books?

We're always on the hunt for good books around our house. I rely on friends, librarians, my local bookstore, and several online sources for new titles we should be sure to read.

No summer slide for these book buddies

I remember when I was a kid, summers were filled with free time, playing with friends, and reading lots of books. I read everything from horse stories and fantasy to Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mysteries and tons more that were borrowed from friends or from the library.

Is access to books enough? Nope.

Far too many children within the U.S. and abroad live in homes with little or no access to books. Among other things, no access means no reading materials for the summer months. Grass roots efforts like summer reading bags and neighborhood book swaps, public libraries, and organizations such as First Book and Book Ends in Southern California all operate with a goal to increase access to reading material for kids in need.

Access to summer reading

As we head into summer, we're all being reminded about the importance of summer reading. Children who don't read during the summer can lose up to three months of reading progress and that loss has a cumulative, long-term effect.

How do you encourage summer learning?

Many teachers find creative ways to keep kids learning over the summer. These efforts are fueled by summer learning loss research whose finding is clear: Children who don't read during the summer can lose up to three months of reading progress and that loss has a cumulative, long-term effect. Summer learning is loss is bad for kids, and it's especially bad news for kids who struggle during the school year.

Summer suggestions

Everywhere I look these days, I see another book list of recommended books for summer reading. Some like them, others wish they would go away. Other sites include calendars, craft ideas, and more to keep kids busy this summer. Here's a handful from the blogosphere that stood out for me.

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"When I say to a parent, "read to a child", I don't want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate. " — Mem Fox