2023 Summer Reading List 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 that the child will enter 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.)
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 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!?)
2023 Summer Reading List 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 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 age children will share good chapter books and middle grade books for every reader, no matter what genre or interest they have.
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)
Summer Reading for Middle School Students
(Grades 7 and 8)
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 Summer Reading Happen
Let your kids choose the books that they read.
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.
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.
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 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.
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?!)
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.
Don’t forget about audiobooks, Kindles, iPads, and Nook reading. Ebooks and audiobooks count as reading, too. (See: audiobooks for tweens & audiobooks for teens.)
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.
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.
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.)
NEXT STEPS FOR SUMMER READING
1. Go to your child’s grade level list. Order or check out books!
2. Use the free printables on Imagination Soup to support your young readers’ summer reading.
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.
More Summer Reading Book Lists by Genre and Topic
Science Fiction Books for Kids
Summer Vacation Themed Chapter Books
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Thanks for asking, Sherry. Happy reading!
I love your point about downtime! Each day, when the baby sleeps, my big kids go down for “Read and Rest.” My daughter spends the entire two hours DAILY reading chapter books! I have to check out about 20 books a week from the library for her! My little three year old boy rests in his bed, listening to Winnie the Pooh on his Yoto player and turning pages of picture books. They all stay in their rooms for about 2 hours – giving me the time I need to recharge and do chores!
That sounds WONDERFUL, Whitney! Good for you for building up your children’s love of books…and stamina. 🙂
I have twin boys that have recently really taken off with their reading. This list will come in handy as I try to keep up with having new books on hand for them to read.
Happy to hear it!
So many great books! Pinning this for my kids this summer 🙂