Kids and summer reading: a how-to guide


Even if your little one isn’t a bookworm, there’s a book for that. (Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

What will your kids read this summer? Or should I say will your kids read this summer? Maggie McGuire from Scholastic answered some of your many questions about what books to read, what books might interest reluctant readers and what to do to encourage reading among kids. Here are a few of her answers from our recent discussion.

Boys and reading.

Q. I spent lots of time every summer plowing through piles of books. I don’t see that same trait in my 3rd grade son. What’s going on there, and what can you recommend so he can learn what a joy it is to get lost in a book? Any good book recommendations for this age?

A. Maggie McGuire: This is such a great issue to talk about. First, your role modeling is one of the most important ways to inspire kids to read. So don’t stop pouring over books in front of and with your son. It does have a HUGE impact. But, you’re asking how can you get him to want to plow through piles of books. Start with tapping into what he’s interested in and find reading material of any and all kinds. Magazines, graphic novels, news articles, Web sites with info and graphics that tap into his interests…they all count! Not every kid reads novels – at least in the beginning – but all kids have interests and passions. Love baseball? Grab baseball cards, bios on great players, read the sport page in newspaper. Does he love Minecraft? You’ll be amazed to know that kids who are playing Minecraft are pouring over the new books about secrets and game hints, strategies and building ideas. They are really well done. Hopefully this sampling gives you an idea of where to start. To note, we know that 92% of kids who choose their own books are more likely to complete the book than those who did not have a choice.

Book recommendations?

Q. My 10-year-old is interested in science and engineering (but is behind in reading skills). Can you recommend any books for him, either to read himself or for us to read to him?

A. Maggie McGuire: I’d love to recommend some terrific space and science themed reads for your 10-year-old. Check out the Discover More series. There’s a fantastic Technology edition that my boys (9 and 11) LOVE. It’s goes through the decades of science discoveries in the field of technology. Here’s a link to a list of great space themed reads.

Beyond Princesses

Q. My rising second-grader is anti-princess, but loves reading. She’s been reading Katie Kazoo and the Fancy Nancy chapter books. Any other series you would recommend for her?

A. Amy Joyce: At OnParenting, we do a weekly book review by a parent called “What We’re Reading.” What you mention (about the anti-princess) is a similar sentiment to something Allison Klein wrote for us about her daughter and the Magic Treehouse series. My son is really enjoying that right now as well (we’re onto the Revolutionary War at the moment). Another very anti-princess series my nieces liked, that the folks at our local bookstore recommended, is Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke. The books were a hit! My son is also a rising 2nd grader and he and I are reading the No. 1 Car Spotter, also by Atinuke right now. (It’s been a fun read for me, which is a real treat!)

A. Maggie: If you haven’t already read this, Pippi Longstocking, while not written recently, is an absolute must. She’s got moxy. She’s the coolest girl in literature. I’d also recommend The Little House on the Prairie series — it’s all about surviving, strong women, family and friendships. More recent publications I’d recommend for her — if she likes mystery, try the Cam Jansen books. If she’s into fantasy, The Wings of Fire series (there are 5 now) is excellent. Not sure if she’s at a reading level yet for Harry Potter, but she will love Hermione, Harry and Ron’s adventures at Hogwarts. Also try Flora and Ulysses. I just finished reading Harriet the Spy to my boys (9 and 11) and the LOVED it. She’s a classic.

McGuire also gave us 5 tips to get kids reading  this summer.

 

Amy Joyce is the editor and a writer for On Parenting.
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