Great Kids Books for Summer Reading in 2011

Every summer, school-aged children look forward to a much needed break from the routine of their school schedule. For parents, summer brings the dilemma of how to give children a break from schoolwork without losing the skills they learned during the year. In every subject, reading comprehension lays a foundation for success in school, so summer vacation is the perfect time to let kids read something for fun.

For young readers, picture books are a great way to capture their interest. Newly released picture book “The Best Book to Read,” by Debbie Bertram, has great rhymes and illustrations. It is the third book about reading by Bertram. Her previous two are “The Best Place to Read” and “The Best Time to Read.” All three books entice children to love the activity of reading.

If you have a child starting kindergarten in the fall, be sure to read “The Night Before Kindergarten,” by Natasha Wing and “The Kissing Hand,” by Audrey Penn. These are great books that teach children what to expect when starting school while reassuring them it will be okay to be away from mom or dad during the day.

For slightly older readers, books with movie ties can be a good way to peak their interests. There are a total of five books in the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, by Jeff Kinney. The first two, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “Rodrick Rules,” have already been made into movies. These are great confidence building books for kids that aren’t very strong readers or who have a limited attention span. The stories and illustrations are very funny. In particular, the fourth book, “Dog Days,” is the perfect summer read, as it occurs during the summer. There are some hilarious truths about summer, like when narrator Greg laments, “…summer vacation is basically a three-month guilt trip.  Just because the weather’s nice, everyone expects you to be outside all day ‘frolicking’ or whatever.”

For stronger readers, all seven books of the Harry Potter series are downright addictive. The final movie, part two of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is due in theaters July 15. Looking ahead, “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins is being made into a movie and is due in theaters March 23, 2012. There are three books in “The Hunger Games” series, so young adult readers may want to read the books now before the release of the first movie.

Thanks to the success of the “Twilight” series, by Stephanie Meyer, there is no shortage of vampire series for teens. The “House of Night” series by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast is one of the most popular vampire series. Parents may want to read a couple of books before deciding if they are appropriate for their teen, as there is more sexual content. The eleventh book, “Dragon’s Oath,” will be released on July 12, 2011.

If you would like to see your children reading more of the classics, Great Illustrated Classics has adaptations for children at about a 3rd to 5th grade reading level. Titles include “Moby Dick,” “White Fang,” “Oliver Twist,” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” These are wonderful books to interest children in classic stories, without the excessive prose that is above their reading level. If your children develop a taste for the classics, they can also find a number available in audio format podcasts from Libravox.

Even if your kids are old enough to read to themselves, setting aside some time to read aloud as a family is a good way to create strong readers. It gives children a chance to hear how words should be pronounced. It gives parents a glimpse of their child’s reading interests and abilities.

Laughing out loud during funny moments or gasping at sad or suspenseful events will create strong memories for your family and will create a love of reading in your child. Laying that foundation will help your child get back into the reading and homework routine when school starts next fall.