SUMMER READING : 17 Books to Encourage Your Child to Read

June 26, 2017

Summer is a perfect time for traveling, taking your family to parks, and playing in the pool--but more than that, summer is great for introducing your children to books that you've loved as a child! Below is a list of 17 classic and modern books that children from kindergarten through fifth grade can read this summer. We've also included 3 bonus tips to encourage your child to read!



  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle: A caterpillar hatches from an egg and looks for food. The story chronicles his journey into a beautiful butterfly.
  • Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown: This book is a rhyming poem discussing a bunny's bedtime ritual of saying "goodnight" to objects in his room.
  • Where Is Baby's Belly Button by Karen Katz: An interactive book that teaches young children about body parts.
  • Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney: A story of two hares, presuming between a father and son. The father asks his son how much he loves him, and the son uses larger and larger examples to answer the question.
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault: A classic book about the alphabet, where each letter climbs up a tree. It is presented as a rhyme.
  • How To by Julie Morstad: A beautifully illustrated book that leads children to imagine how to do simple actions, such as how to wonder, how to see the wind, etc.
  • Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts: This story follows a young girl’s failure and inspiration to become an engineer. It’s a great read and encouragement for girls who are interested in the sciences or math!


  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein: A tree that gives her all for love to a little boy. The boy grows throughout the book, taking all that the tree has to offer. He continues to visit the tree until he reaches an old age, even when the tree becomes a stump. A classic story about the balance of giving and receiving.
  • The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner: Classic chapter books about four siblings who solve mysteries together after their parents die and make their home into a boxcar. There are so many titles, your child can read them for a long time! It has great tales of family and problem solving.
  • Ronald Dahl books: Dahl books are classic and live through the ages. They captivate imagination and creativity such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, and BFG.
  • Frindle by Andrew Clements: A boy decides to invent a new word, which eventually turns into a national word. This is a whimsical, realistic book that young children will enjoy.
  • Dexter the Tough by Margaret Peterson Haddix: Dexter, the school bully, is tough on the outside, but inside, he is conflicted with problems at home. Because he doesn’t know how to control his emotions, he acts out on other kids.


  • Charlotte's Web by E. B. White: A pig named Wilbur tries to survive being slaughtered by befriending a spider named Charlotte. Charlotte is his guide and mentor throughout his life.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney: A kid going through middle school and horrible social experiences. He develops schemes to get the attention and recognition he feels he deserves--which all fail. The books follow his adventures, full of nonsense and hilarity.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis: Four siblings are sent to a country house after WWII bombings and the youngest, Lucy, finds a wardrobe that transports her into a magical world called Narnia. Soon, her siblings follow suit and they meet mystical characters. Together, they fight against evil. You will follow an amazing journey of joy, loss, challenge and triumph.
  • Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary: This book discusses a young boy’s experience with his parent’s divorce, difficulty in making friends, and emotions in his first year of middle school.
  • Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan: A young girl experiences grief and learns how to deal with it as she recovers from the loss of her parents.

Encourage your child to read more!

  1. Go to your local libraries -- There are plenty of programs for summer reading, including story time, reading challenges, and more.
  2. The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge -- A free online program to motivate and excite your kids about reading! You can also find summer reading suggestions that pertain to your child's grade level. 
  3. Create a reading game at home -- Put up a chart where your child will fill out what books they read and have fun rewards at milestones. For example, after reading 5 books, they get to choose their favorite restaurant to eat at.

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