Summer is approaching, and whether your kids are at home, at camp, or on vacation for the summer, it’s so important that they keep reading while on break to avoid the “Summer Slump.” Summer reading should not be a stress on you or your kid(s). Hopefully, we all can enjoy this break from our hectic school year routines, introduce a lot more relaxation, and learn at a fun, leisurely pace. Before we know it, fall will be here.
WC Mom Blog Book Picks
We thought we would start this guide off with some book picks from our kids:
- Max, 4, and James, 2, love the How Do Dinosaurs series by Jane Yolen, Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae, and The Berenstein Bears series by Stan, Jan & Mike Berenstein.
- Sophia, 6, loves the Mr. Poppleton Series by Cynthia Rylant, her favorite being Mr. Poppleton Forever.
- Lexi, 7, loves The Adventures of Laura and Jack by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Last year, she loved the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems, I Yam a Donkey by Cece Bell, and the Scaredy Squirrel series by Mélanie Watt.
- Evan, 8, loves both the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney and Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey.
- Tori, 10, loves Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Last year, she loved The One and Only Ivan by K Applegate. She also liked Smile by Reina Telgemaier.
- Sebastian, 10, read Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White for the very first time last month, and adored it. He even reread it!
- Tristan, 11, loves the mystery Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick, who is also the author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
- Arlene’s children are ages 12, 10, & 8. “We love the author Grace Lin. Her book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is the first of a trilogy. It’s like a Chinese Wizard of Oz. The story is filled with mythical creatures, fantasy, folklore and legends. My kids LOVE this book.”
- Kristen loves reading Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech to her students. “[It] is a perfect book for 5th/6th grade – read it with my students every year- favorite book ever!” Her favorite books to read aloud with her two daughters 6 and 9 are the Bear Books series by Karma Wilson (like Bear Snores On and the Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland).
- Madeline, 13, who has graduated well past “kids books” still considers Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren an all-time favorite.
These are some great reads, and I thank all of our contributors’ kids for making their recommendations!
Library Summer Reading Incentives
Throughout the month of June, summer reading incentive programs are kicking off in most of the libraries in Westchester. If you miss the kick off event, sign up is ongoing. Visit your local public library to find out what giveaways they have in store for kids that reach their summer reading goals. I have included a directory of all of the local libraries and a link to their websites and summer reading programs at the end of this post.
Many of the libraries have separate reading incentives or games for teens, and hopefully our teens don’t feel too “cool” to participate, but we can try to entice them. Even for my kids that have always loved the library, it takes creativity to get them through the doors these days.
Summer Reading Buddies
Tuesdays & Wednesdays
Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program
The Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program is for kids in grades 1 through 6. They must read eight books, record them in their Summer Reading Journal, share which part of the book is their favorite, and explain why. They have until September 3rd to return their completed journals to a Barnes & Noble store and will be able to choose one free book from the list of books on their journals.
Find your nearest Barnes & Nobles store here.
Chuck E. Cheese Reading Rewards
At-Home Summer Reading
8 Tips for Motivating Reluctant Readers is a must read if you want to get your child reading at home this summer when he or she is disinclined to do so unaided. Summer is a great time to ease into better habits and ease into a love of reading before the hustle and bustle of the school year begins.
Interactive Online Literacy Programs
Whether you are at home or away on vacation, there are some great resources that can get your kids reading as long as you have internet access:
- As part of Summer Reading at New York Libraries, the State Education Department and myON are partnering to bring thousands of enhanced digital books to children from birth through 8th grade and their families all around the state until September. Instructions for how to access this amazing resource comes in both English and Spanish.
- If you are a Westchester Public Library card holder, you can access ABC Mouse for free in the library and at home. However, you will need to know your library card number and your library pin number in order to access this free service.
- DayByDayNY is a free website for young children and their families. It is part of the New York State Library early literacy initiative. Each day, there is a new story, song, and activities that even families with limited time can enjoy.
- Tumblebooks has digital picture books, quizzes and educational games that you can access free as a Westchester Public Library card holder. You can download the app on any mobile device, enter your library number, and explore.
- Starfall is a fun free (limited access) to low-cost ELA and Math program with games and activities for kids in pre-K to grade 2.
- No Red Ink is a free program that is very new to us, but our oldest really enjoys using it in school. It collects students interests in order to test their knowledge of ELA using questions that really engage them.
- IXL is probably the least fun of the bunch, since it is more of a “test” than the other sites mentioned. However, it is extremely useful for parents (and students) that are trying to gauge where their child fares in regards to grade level NY Common Core skills (grades K-12).
Mom’s Summer Reading
Last year, Westchester County Moms Blog launched our online book club, Mom’s the Word; you do not have to be a mom or live in Westchester to join. We wanted to create a convenient space to socialize and read at your own pace. Every month, we vote on our next read, and post discussion questions every week to get the conversation going. For June, we chose An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.
Next, you will find a directory of bookstores and libraries (in alphabetical order by town) throughout Westchester County where can you find your next read and attend some amazing summer reading events:
76 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, NY 10708
96 Chatsworth Avenue
Larchmont, NY 10538
1997 Palmer Avenue
Mamaroneck, NY 10543
Bruised Apple Books and Music
923 Central Avenue
Peekskill, NY 10566