2023 Summer Reading Lists of Best Books For Kids

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It’s time for summer reading lists, reading programs, and reading challenges! Get your kids, ages 5 to 18, reading with book recommendations from these up-to-date summer reading lists. These summer reading book lists are for every grade level, preschool, early elementary school, upper elementary school, middle school, and high school!!

Over the summer months, choose summer books from the grade level list the child will be entering in the fall. (Unless you know that your child needs modifications. Meaning– if your child is below or above grade level, check different grade level lists — lower or higher. The grade level isn’t as important as helping children read daily, so they grow in their reading skills. Just as long as their reading, am I right?)

Reading–lots and lots of reading–is the only way to keep kids growing as readers…unless a learning disability is interfering. But kids need lots of good books. That’s why I’ve made these summer reading book lists.

You’ll find both familiar favorites and newly published children’s books, as well as a variety of genres and subjects from which to choose. Not only that, many of these recommendations are books in series. (Because aren’t book series the best!?)

I’ve read all the books on the elementary and middle school lists — and recommend them based on my experience as a former teacher, a parent, and a book blogger. The lists do not include book reviews, but you can find all books with reviews elsewhere on Imagination Soup. Either search the title using the search bar on the top left side of Imagination Soup or search for the book to see which grade level list it’s on.

2023 Summer Reading List of Best Books For Kids

2023 Summer Reading Lists of Books for Kids

What are the best summer reads for your children or students to read during the long, hot days of June, July, and August? These summer reading lists include familiar favorites, newly published titles, and popular book series of the best books for kids organized by age, genre, and including a topic/theme label.

Summer Reading for Preschoolers (Ages 3, 4, and 5)

If you’re like me, you always want to read aloud new picture books to your preschool-age children– whether nonfiction or fiction. That’s why I’ve also made a summer book list with fun summer reads for your preschoolers. (And you! Because as the adult reading aloud the book, it helps so much if you love the book you’re reading.)

Get read aloud tips here.

Remember, young readers at this pre-reading stage can “read” the sequence of the story by retelling what happens in the pictures. This is an important literacy skill-building foundational strategy!

Picture Book List for Pre-Readers

Summer Reading for Kids in Elementary School Grades
(Kindergarten, Grade 1 – 6)

These book lists for elementary school books share the most engaging chapter books and middle grade books for every reader, no matter what genre or interest they have.

When you visit each elementary school book list, you can download a printable list of books to read for each grade level. (Free!) NOTE: If you don’t see the printable sign up, clear your cache and try again.

Pre-Reader Book List

1st Grade Reading List (age 6 – 7)

2nd Grade Reading List (age 7 – 8)

3rd Grade Reading List (age 8 – 9)

4th Grade Reading List (age 9 – 10)

5th Grade Reading List (age 10 – 11)

6th Grade Reading List (age 11 – 12)

best summer reads for kids

Summer Reading for Middle School Kids and Students
(Grades 7 and 8)

Download a list of books to read for your middle school children and students. These summer book recommendations range from realistic to graphic novels to historical fiction — with a variety so every reader has options.

7th Grade Reading List (age 12 – 13)

8th Grade Reading List (age 13 and up / teen)

P.S. Are you doing a summer reading program? Find good summer reading programs through your local library, Scholastic, or Barnes and Noble. Some schools offer incentives for summer reading, as well! Click here to see the 2023 free summer reading programs.

Tips to Make Reading Reading Happen

1. CHOICE

summer reading boy picking out a book

Let your kids choose the books that they read. Simple as that.

KIDS NEED TO PICK OUT THEIR OWN BOOKS! Whether or not you think their choices are the best summer reads, PLEASE give your child choices of books. Picking out a chapter book or middle grade book will give the reader ownership and motivation. Use the list of books I’m providing you to allow your kids or students to pick what they want in their pile of summer books.

That being said, if your reader isn’t making book choices that are comprehensible, choose some just-right books for them from which they can decide. Maybe show them six books and ask them to pick the one they want to start with first.

2. BOUNTY

summer reading at a bookstore

Fill your house with lots of books. More books = more chances for your children to find a fantastic, amazing, very good book that they can’t put down.

Recently, we set a new money-spent record at the bookstore. Gulp. I shouldn’t tell you, but it was well over $300. There’s something magical about your mom taking you to the bookstore where you can pick all the books you want to read. (Magically expensive. But worth it.)

Of course, we visit the library weekly, and it’s much more economical.

3. LIBRARY

summer reading at the libary

Visit your local library as often as you can. Let your kids go WILD and check out lots of books! Bring a big book bag and fill it up. (Because why limit books?!)

4. TIME

Kids need chunks of time and opportunities for reading. So, make sure they’re not filling all their time with TV, video games, and iPad time.

summer reading on a tablet 2023 Summer Reading List of Best Books For Kids

5. TECHNOLOGY

Don’t forget about audiobooks, Kindles, iPads, and Nook reading. Ebooks and audiobooks count as reading, too. (See: audiobooks for tweens & audiobooks for teens.)

6. READABILITY

Make sure your child is reading books that he or she can comprehend. When choosing a book, use the 5 finger test to decide if it’s a just-right book and not too hard or too easy.

Ask your child to tell you a little about the story during and after reading. If you haven’t read the story, read the back cover blurb and ask questions related to that back cover summary.

Make sure your child understands what he or she reads — and that he KNOWS IF HE DOESN’T. For more clarity about reading comprehension, visit this post about reading strategies or this post about reading comprehension.

2023 Summer Reading List of Best Books For Kids -- summer reading in a cozy tent

7. COZY READING SPACE

Kids LOVE a cozy book nook. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does need to involve the kids. Find a corner – those work best. Let your child help you to add pillows, lamps, books, stuffed animals, a headlamp, or flashlight, to create a special reading space.

Read more tips on how to make a kid-friendly book nook.

8. DOWNTIME

Kids need margins (time) just like we do. We all need unscheduled time to rest and relax. Kids especially.

Remember to make time during the day for rest and for summer reading. That means you’ll probably need to monitor screen time, so the screens don’t compete with books. (Unless your child is reading online books or in a book app.)

9. MORE SUMMER READING TIPS FROM AUTHORS, LIBRARIANS, & TEACHERS

NEXT STEPS FOR SUMMER READING

1. Go to your child’s grade level list. Order or check out as many books as you can!

2. Use the free printables on Imagination Soup to support your young readers’ summer reading.

summer reading

Download my free and fun Summer Reading PDF Printable Activity Packet!

Download the free Reading Bingo Challenge

Get my FREE printables to track summer learning here.

What else can you do for summer reading?

Try this Reading Bucket List. Add your own bucket list ideas in the notes section.

Or download a blank reading bucket list to fill in yourself.

If you want to get crafty, make homemade bookmarks.

2023 Summer Reading List of Best Books For Kids

More Summer Reading Book Lists by Genre and Topic

Adventure Books for Kids

Fantasy Books for Kids

Funny Books for Kids

Graphic Novels for Kids

Kindle Books for Kids

Magazines for Kids

Mystery Books for Kids

Nonfiction Books for Kids

Science Fiction Books for Kids

Short Middle Grade Books

Summer Vacation Themed Chapter Books 

Get your kids, ages 5 to 18, reading with book recommendations from these up-to-date summer reading lists. These summer reading book lists are for every grade level, preschool, elementary school, middle school, and high school!!

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26 Comments

  1. It’s so so important to instill reading habits in children. Thanks for helping us with this comprehensive list of summer reads. 🙂

  2. I messed up with the reluctant reader , but I wanted to tell you I so enjoy your web site. I do this for my granddaughter, but send info to others who have school age children.