Kids Book Corner: The Importance of Summer Reading

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Studies show that children’s reading skills erode over the summer months and that the skill-deficit continues in following school year. Researchers report that this loss is especially severe for kids struggling with reading. In fact, by the time a struggling reader reaches middle school, summer reading losses can accumulate to a two-year lag in reading achievement. But the same research offers a remedy: Kids reading six to ten books during the summer will retain, even strengthen their reading skills.

The best way to get your kids to read is to connect reading with pleasure. Let kids read about subjects that interest them — sports, fashion, sci-fi, mystery, cooking, entertainment, animals­­–and make books a regular part of play, recreation time and your life as well.  Below you’ll find three classic titles and two new books to enjoy:

Willo Davis Roberts’s classic, The Absolutely True Story: How I Visited Yellowstone Park with the Terrible Rupes is funny and suspenseful. When Lewis and Allison are invited to accompany their neighbors, the Rupes, to Yellowstone, the Rupes’ indifferent parenting and the strange men following them make for a memorable trip. (Boys and girls 9-12.)

Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer Sixteen year old Jenna Boller is good at selling shoes but doesn’t like herself very much: She’s too tall, too heavy and her hair is red. Everything changes when the irascible CEO of the shoe company hires her to drive her on a business trip. Touching, funny, and wonderful for girls 12 and up.

Orangutans Are Ticklish by Steve Grubman and Hugo and the really, really, really long string by Bob Boyle are new books that should delight kids 3 to 7 years.  Animal photographer Grubman presents incredible photos with fun animal facts and accounts of what it was like for him to photograph each animal. Hugo tells the story of a mysterious red string that leads across a river, underground, through town and to a wonderful surprise.

The Legend of Spud Murphy by Eoin Coffer. When Marty and Will must spend their summer days in the library where the dreaded librarian Spud Murphy rules, things are very funny — and full of surprises. (Boys 8 and up.)

Happy Reading!

Jo Perry has a Ph.D. in English, taught literature and writing, and worked as a college administrator and as a television writer and producer. She is a reviewer for and is an ongoing contributor to kidsLA Magazine for which she writes about the city, children’s books, and conducts interviews. For two years she wrote the Kids’ Book Club column for the L.A. Times’ Kids’ Reading Room page.

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.