Read More... Favorite Teen Authors and Other High School ReadsReaching Reluctant ReadersBook Clubs and TipsClassics

Kindergarten through Fifth Grade

KindergartenFirst GradeSecond GradeThird GradeFourth GradeFifth Grade

The summer before... kindergarten

During kindergarten, children often take their first steps toward becoming readers. The summer before, show your almost-kindergartner that reading is funand that anytime is a good time to curl up with a great book. Use the suggestions below to ensure that your child starts school viewing reading as an enjoyable, entertaining pastime. Remember, at this point you should be focusing on your child's listening comprehension level and reading aloud to them as much as possible.

Whistle for Willie Max and Ruby's Bedtime Book
Reading as a family and incorporating books into your daily schedule is incredibly important for emerging readers.
  • Develop a consistent reading routine with your child byfor examplealways reading before nap or bedtime.
  • Try Whistle for Willie or Max and Ruby's Bedtime Book which is formatted as three short storiesa perfect choice for spending some quick time with a sleepy toddler.

G is for GoatLadybug Girl
Picture books are a great vehicle for developing vocabulary and oral language skills.
  • Choose books that focus on early concepts like numbers, letters, and colors in addition to books with story elements that feature interesting characters and imaginary play.
  • G is for Goat by Patricia Polacco is a wonderful rhyming alphabet story, and the original Ladybug Girl by David Soman and Jacky Davis is excellent for inspiring imaginary play.
  • Select books with vivid illustrations that lend themselves to rich conversations, incorporating new words and concepts.

skippyjon jones
If your child loves a characterlike Llama Llama, Skippyjon Jones, Max and Ruby, or Ladybug Girlstick with it!
  • A well-loved book character can become a friend to the youngest readers and a sure bet to keep them interested in reading!
  • See what other books are available starring that character.
  • Look for activity and sticker books featuring these characters; bring them on car trips and incorporate them into your child's daily playtime.

Ladybug Girl at the Beach The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Little Engine That Could

Picture books are a great vehicle for developing vocabulary and oral language skills.
  • Vacation: Ladybug Girl at the Beach
  • Family Picnics and Nutrition: The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Embarking on New Experiences: The Little Engine That Could

Llama Llama Misses Mama The Night Before Kindergarten
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School
At the end of the summer, prepare your child for school by reading books with back-to-school themes to ensure an easy transition into the first formal school year. Try these favorites:
  • Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney
  • The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing
  • Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
  • The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray (available Summer 2011)

The summer before... first grade

Many rising first graders are still acquiring pre-reading skills, such as letter/sound relationships, while others are slowly developing a sight word vocabulary, which enables them to read simple books. But all soon-to-be first graders are anxious to be readers! Use the suggestions below to help your child take the next steps.

Billy & Milly, Short and Silly Gingerbread Friends
Oh, Look!
After your child has been introduced to reading in kindergarten, make sure to maintain his or her interest and skills during the summer before first grade by knowing your child's reading level. Being aware of how and when to introduce more difficult texts is crucial for your child's reading development.
  • Select easy-to-read picture books and simple stories for early readers. Billy & Milly, Short and Silly combines three-or-four word sentences with vivid illustrations to create short stories about two lovable characters.
  • Help your early reader gain fluency with books that have plenty of rhyme, rhythm, and repetition such as Oh, Look! and Gingerbread Friends.

The True Story of the Three Little PigsBones
Cork and Fuzz
Reread children's favorite stories so that they can become familiar with the text and master words that they have difficulty reading the first time.
  • To develop reading comprehension skills, talk about the main idea and characters of each story with your child. Pause during the reading and ask your child to predict what might happen next or how the story might end.
  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka makes an entertaining read-aloud: comparing and contrasting it to the original version can be a fun activity!
  • A book that is above your child's independent reading level but at his or her listening comprehension level can make a good read-aloud. At this age many children enjoy the popular Bones mystery series by David A. Adler or the friendship-themed Cork and Fuzz series by Dori Chaconas.
  • Move your finger under the line of print as you read aloud so your child can follow along.

Skippyjon Jones Skippyjon Jones Skippyjon Jones
Skippyjon Jones Skippyjon Jones Skippyjon Jones
Skippyjon Jones
Remember to ask your child to pack a book or two when you go on vacation and always keep books in your car!
  • Try playing an audiobook while your child follows along with the print version.
  • The Skippyjon Jones books by Judy Schachner are perfect for this as they come with an audio CD of the author reading the book aloud.
  • The series is also a sure bet for encouraging imaginative play during the summer months.

Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade Officer Buckle and Gloria Officer Buckle and Gloria The Night Before Summer Vacation
The Night Before Summer Camp The Night Before First Grade
Relevant thematic reading selections always make good choices.
  • Caldecott Medal winner Officer Buckle and Gloria Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann puts a fun spin on learning safety tips.
  • Natasha Wing's The Night Before series is fantastic for introductions to new holidays and events. Start your summer off with The Night Before Summer Vacation, and if your youngster goes to camp, don't miss The Night Before Summer Camp.
  • To prep for the school year near the end of the summer try, Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade by Stephanie Greene and The Night Before First Grade.

The summer before... second grade

The summer before second grade is the perfect time to begin to visit your local public library regularly with your child. Allow children to begin to select their own books and distinguish their personal tastes. Rising second graders should have access to different genres, including mysteries, poetry, realistic fiction, nonfiction, and fables. Their reading material should range from early chapter books they can read on their own to more advanced chapter books you can read together.

Badger's Fancy Meal Horrible Harry Amber Brown
Amber Brown Amanda Pig Amanda Pig
The Other Side Listen to the Wind
Try these more advanced picture books as read-aloud selections:
  • Badger's Fancy Meal by Keiko Kasza. The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Listen to the Wind by Greg Mortenson, illustrated by Susan L. Roth
  • Join Horrible Harry on his misadventures in the popular series by Suzy Kline!
  • Make friends with Jean Van Leeuwen's Geisel Honor-winning Amanda Pig!
  • Follow award-winning author Paula Danziger's Amber Brown as she navigates school, friendship, and family in TWO series at different reading levels.

Cam Jansen seriesCam Jansen series
Cam Jansen series
Solve mysteries with everyone's favorite super sleuth, Cam Jansen! The Cam Jansen series by David A. Adler is...
  • HUGE! With more then thirty books in the series, readers are guaranteed a full summer of sleuthing!
  • A classroom classic. Beloved by teachersand written by a former teacher, as wellCam is a great choice for any reading curriculum and library or bookstore recommendation.
  • Liked by girls and boys.
  • Part of the popular mystery genre. Kids love the excitement of solving Cam's cases as they read along.
  • Perfect for practicing the comprehension strategies of predicting and questioning, which enhance active thinking behavior while reading.
  • Diverse in topics and themes. From school mysteries to dinosaur who-done-its to sports crimes, Cam solves them all.

The summer before... third grade

26 Fairmont Avenue
Visit 26 Fairmont Avenue for humorous and heartfelt family stories! The 26 Fairmont Avenue series by Tomie dePaola is...
  • A great introduction to Newbery books for younger readers.
  • A humorous and page-turning read.
  • Filled with charming illustrations that children will enjoy as they read the story.
  • A great series about family and relationships.

Frannie B. Miller
Follow job-obsessed Frannie B. Miller on her comical journey to find employment in a real live office. The Frankly, Frannie series by AJ Stern is...
  • Laugh-out-loud funny. Frannie's antics will get readers giggling in no time!
  • Refreshingly honest and original.
  • A great tool for teaching creative vocabulary and nonsense words.
  • Easily teachable and a wonderful platform for a unique getting-to-know-you exercise: writing a résumé!

Time Warp Trio series Time Warp Trio series
Join Sam, Joe, and Fred on their action-packed adventures in the boy-friendly Time Warp Trio series. The Time Warp Trio series is ...
  • Written and illustrated by the knockout team of Jon Scieszka, the
  • First National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, and Caldecott Honorwinner Lane Smith.
  • A great chapter-book read for boys and reluctant readers.
  • Filled with fast-paced dialogue, humor, and action that will keep kids turning the pages.
  • The perfect way to give your kids a dose of history disguised as FUN.

Katie Kazoo series Katie Kazoo series
Katie Kazoo series Katie Kazoo series
Take a step in someone else's shoes (or paws!) with Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo! The Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo series by Nancy Krulik is ...
  • HUGE! With more then forty books in the series, fans can have a book on deck all summer long.
  • An interesting platform for demonstrating the concept of seeing the world from someone else's point of view.
  • Diverse in topic and has many summer-themed selections kids can enjoy during vacation.
  • A great series to teach the importance of character, values and making the right decision.
  • Popular enough to have its own fan club! Visit to learn how you can become a member today!

George Brown, Class Clown series
If your child likes Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo, don't miss Nancy Krulik's George Brown, Class Clown series!

The Who Was...? series The Who Was...? series
The Who Was...? series The Who Was...? series
Discover the lives of famous people with the Who Was...? biography series. The Who Was...? series is...
  • FUN! These books read like fiction but are packed with information.
  • A great option for a back-to-school biography unit where each child chooses a different figure to report on.
  • Diverse in subject and topicfrom musicians to explorers to presidents to famous celebrities, there's something for everyone.
  • Written at a variety of reading levels so that your child can keep going with the series as his or her reading level advances.

Matilda The BFG James and the Giant Peach
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Fantastic Mr. Fox
Fall into the splendiferous world of Roald Dahl! Roald Dahl is...
  • the World's #1 Storyteller!
  • An author whose books will hold the attention of any child who loves fantasy and using his or her imagination.
  • The inspiration behind many wonderful movies based on his classic novels. Read the books before you see them!
  • The creator of memorable characters that make excellent models for character studies.
  • The perfect choice for a beginning-of-the-year author study. His books make perfect mentor texts!
  • An inspiration for teaching FUN vocabulary lessonsparticularly using The BFG.
  • A crowd-pleasing selection for summer book clubs.
  • Visit for discussion questions, games, and more!

The World According to Humphrey
Spend your summer with everyone's favorite class pet, Humphrey the hamster! The Humphrey series by Betty G. Birney is...
  • The winner of eight state awards and has been nominated for more then eighteen!
  • A good choice for animal lovers and can be enjoyed by both boys and girls.
  • Filled with humorous stories that kids will relate to (and secretly wish they could be a part of).
  • A great series for vacations and car trips, as the paperbacks have puzzles in the back!

Pippi Longstocking Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing Encyclopedia Brown
Hank the Cowdog series Hank the Cowdog series
  • Introduce your child to the outrageous (and incredibly charming) Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. What child wouldn't be fascinated by a girl who lives without grown-ups?!
  • Every rising fourth grader should read the first book in Judy Blume's classic Fudge series, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.
  • Crack the case with John R. Erickson's Hank the Cowdog on one of his more then FIFTY-SEVEN adventures
  • Children who love Hank the Cowdog may also enjoy the Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald J. Sobol.

The summer before... fifth grade

Savvy Scumble
Let yourself be charmed by Newbery Honor Book Savvy by Ingrid Law. Savvy is...
  • An award-winning book loved by adults and kids alike.
  • A coming-of-age story both boys and girls will easily relate to.
  • Filled to the brim with a well-defined, inventive cast of characters perfect for character studies and analysis projects.
  • Fantasy, adventure, and just the right dose of realism to make for a page-turning, teachable read.
  • A great prompt for creative writing: imagine that in your family, you receive a special ability when you turn thirteen. Your brothers create electricity and hurricanes and your grandfather could move mountains. What would you want to be able to do?
  • Full of thematic connections: family, friendship, conflict resolution, understanding differences, valuing uniqueness.
  • A fantastic choice for fun-filled, dramatic reader's theater presentations.
  • The perfect book to remind kids that everyone is special in some unique way

The Secret Platform 13 Which Witch? The Book of Elsewhere
Readers Who Love Savvy and Scumble will also enjoy these magical novels

My Side of the Mountain On the Far Side of the Mountain
Frightful's Mountain Pocket Guide to the Outdoors
Read classic adventure story My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. My Side of the Mountain is...
  • The perfect selection for classroom lesson plans and library programs.
  • The ideal read for wilderness and nature enthusiasts.
  • Filled with adventure and the fantasy of living on your own.
  • A great prompt for creative writing: imagine how you would survive in the wilderness with only a penknife, a ball of cord, forty dollars, and some flint and steel.
  • A classic Newbery Honor book and page-turning read that modern-day kids will pick up again and againand recommend to their friends.
  • Don't miss the other two books in the trilogy and the brand-new Pocket Guide to the Outdoors!

Al Capone Does My Shirts Al Capone Shines my Shoes
Spend the summer on Alcatraz with Moose Flanagan and his friends! Al Capone Does My Shirts and Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko are...
  • The perfect selection for classroom lesson plans and library programs.
  • Historical fiction set in a time period recent enough for kids to easily relate to the setting.
  • Set in one of the most famous prisons in the world but are appropriate for younger readers.
  • Stories that showcase the importance of family, tolerance, and friendship.
  • Award-winning novels that read like movie scripts.

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade The Cat Ate My Gymsuit
Locomotion and Peace Locomotion The Ruins of Gorlan
More fantastic choices for rising fifth graders include:
  • When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr
  • Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade by Barthe DeClements
  • The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danziger
  • Locomotion and Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson
  • The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan