Along with the pool, the lake, summer vacations, and the ballpark, we hope reading takes center stage for your child this summer.
Most parents (and all teachers) recognize that summer reading is essential to preventing "summer slide"––the loss of critical literacy skills. Even more, reading is not just for maintaining these skills, but also for promoting moral and social/emotional development. Who of us does not recall being lost in the pages of a marvelous literary adventure as a child? Those instances were critical soul-shaping, empathy-producing, mind-growing moments for us. We'd like to help you create such moments for your own children. We're beginning those efforts with our online Summer Reading Fair.
May we encourage you to make it possible for your child to read at least 5 books this summer? We know that most of our students can read many more––and we'd love to hear just how many books they read. You can find great books at the Rochester Public Library and the RCLS Library (see open library hours on the RCLS calendar), but we also want to encourage you to create a rich library of titles at home. We're helping you in that effort with our first-ever "Summer Reading Fair," an online book sales event that benefits your child (read, read, read) and the school library (the RCLS will earn 25% of your book purchase total to buy more quality books for the library). In that online reading fair, you'll find a list of recommended reading for summer, with titles organized by grade.
Additionally, we are offering you a list of recommended book series here. Once your child finds a title he/she loves, a series compels more reading. Frog and Toad, for example, are fun to get to know across a series of titles, and Laura Ingalls becomes a friend over the years and titles in The Little House collection. So, order a title or two from our recommended reading lists for each grade, and then find a great series to round out your child's bookshelves. These are books that will help your Bobcat get lost in the moments and (literal) pages of their childhood reading!
Grades 1-3, Leveled Readers & Early Chapter Books
Amelia Bedelia Makes a Friend, I Can Read Series, Herman Parish | Amelia is a beloved fictional character who finds herself in silly mix ups that keep young readers giggling. These Amelia Bedelia titles are most appropriate for new readers and will keep them reading and expanding their vocabularies, all the while laughing at silly Amelia. You can find more Amelia Bedelia I Can Read titles among other leveled reader selections here.
Biscuit, I Can Read Series, Alyssa Satin Capucilli | Another series for early independent readers, Biscuit leads the reader through his puppy adventures in the library, at the farm, and in the campground. This is a sweet series for the new reader.
Amelia Bedelia & Friends, Herman Parish | The beloved Amelia Bedelia has her own chapter books. This link is the boxed set of the first 4-chapter books in the series, but entering “Amelia Bedelia” in the search bar will provide additional titles.
Frog and Toad, Arnold Lobel | Parents, remember these guys from childhood? For 50 years these amphibian friends have delighted young readers. You can get a boxed set of all 4 Frog and Toad titles. These texts are for young readers who may need a little help, so they are great for parent and child read-alouds, too.
Fly Guy Presents, Tedd Arnold | In this nonfiction series, young readers are introduced to lots of fun facts about insects, bats, snakes, sharks, castles, and more. Each title features the fictional Fly Guy to introduce facts about our world––a great series for the science-minded kid. (Fly Guy has fictional titles, too. You can find those by searching “Fly Guy” on the online book fair.)
Pete the Cat I Can Read books, James Dean | Pete the Cat’s adventures will delight beginning readers. The I Can Read series is a spin-off of the popular character’s award-winning picture books.
Ballpark Mysteries, David A. Kelly | A great series for your baseball fan, each of the Ballpark Mysteries titles is set in a different American ballpark—pretty cool! Titles like The Missing Marlin and The Wrigley Riddle put your early reader inside the parks, where a mystery must be solved. These are early chapter books, so they will be most appropriate for the reader ready to develop some fluency—2nd or 3rd grade.
The Little House 9-volume Set, Laura Ingalls Wilder | If you’ve got a middle-grade reader who has not yet met Laura, Mary, Baby Carrie, Pa, and Ma, this is the summer reading she/he should do! The “real life” stories of the 19th century Ingalls family as they lived in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Kansas are endearing. You can buy individual titles from the set, as well; just search them individually.
The Chronicles of Narnia Box Set, C.S. Lewis | Keep your middle-grade reader busy all summer with the Narnia box set. All 7 titles are in this collection, which we deem a “must read” for every middle-grade through middle-school reader. Aslan is on the move, and he is King!
The Moffats, Eleanor Estes | This classic series for the middle-grade reader has been acclaimed by critics and fans, alike. The adventures of the Moffat siblings keep young readers…reading! There are just a few of the Moffat titles available in our book fair, but they are a good place to start with this series.
Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Beverly Cleary | We love Ramona in all of her titles and exploits, and we think she’d be a fun fictional friend for the early chapter book reader. The amusing Ramona is in 3rd grade, when teenage siblings drive you crazy and parents don’t always let you in on secrets. Perhaps your 3rd-grade reader will relate! Ramona Quimby, Age 8 is a Newbery winner, but all of the Beverly Clearly titles are wonderful.
Percy Jackson series, Rick Riordan | It appears there are just 3 of the 5 Percy Jackson Olympus series available in our book fair right now, but we highly recommend this captivating series that leads the reader through an introduction to the legends of the Greek gods and the adventures of Percy as he encounters them (and their enemies). We’ll always recommend a great good vs. evil narrative—this is the grand story, after all! You’ll find Book 4 (The Battle of the Labyrinth) and Book 5 (The Last Olympian) in our fair. The other titles are in the RCLS library.
The Betsy-Tacy Treasury, Maud Hart Lovelace | Did you know? Betsy-Tacy stories are set in Minnesota! Friends at the turn of the 19th century, Betsy and Tacy share all the adventures of youth together. Together in one volume, this anthology includes the first 4 books in the classic series of childhood and friendship. You can also purchase the first book in the series as a stand-alone title.
Alex Rider, Anthony Horowitz | Alex Rider’s creator is a New York Times bestselling author. Rider is a teen spy, “saving the world one mission at a time.” There are many books in the series––each installment is a new adventure that will thrill even a reluctant pre-teen reader. There are 7 titles available in our Summer Reading Fair. Type “Alex Rider” in the search bar to find them all.
The Book of Three, Lloyd Alexander | The first in the The Chronicles of Prydian series, this is, what I55 deems, a “standard of excellence in fantasy literature for children.” Taran is the Assistant Pig-keeper in his community, but his is a quest to become a hero. This series captures children’s imaginations, even as it is awarded critical affirmation.
The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien | The Hobbit is the classic prelude to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, the indelible epic of the fictional Middle Earth, meant to represent the grand epic of eternity. The series has birthed an entire literary industry since the Lord of the Rings movies were produced at the turn of the century. We recommend this series for the motivated reader––or perhaps the reader who is motivated by the fantastical. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings boxed set is linked here, but you can purchase individual titles from the book fair, as well.
The Mysterious Benedict Society, Trenton Lee Stewart | This is a New York Times bestselling series that some deem “a modern classic,” among the “best children’s books of all-time.” There are just a couple of titles available on our book fair: Riddle of the Ages and Prisoner’s Dilemma. There are more in the RCLS library.
The Penderwicks at Last, Jeanne Birdsall | Regrettably, it appears the final book in this series is all that is available at the moment in our book fair, but we love the adventures of the Penderwick siblings so much that we want to include them here, anyway. Your tween/teen reader will appreciate what I55 describes as a “joyful, hilarious ode to the family we love best.”
Ranger’s Apprentice, John Flanagan | A great series for the fantasy reader, Ranger’s Apprentice adventures follow the adventures of 15-year-old Will, who is small for his age but has been chosen to be an apprentice for a Ranger, the protector of the kingdom. Start with The Ruins of Gorlan, the first in a series that does not necessarily have to be read in an order.
Remember, books may shipped for free to the school (see the coupon code at our online Summer Reading Fair) or shipped to home for a small fee. The coupon--and the Reading Fair--are active until June 15.
Happy shopping, and happy summer, Bobcats!