Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Last-Minute Summer Reading List for Kids

Guest blog post by Kelly Wilson

It’s never too late to start summer reading. Parents and teachers alike worry that children lose valuable skills and information during the summer break, but research has shown that reading over the summer can help! Use this guide to start a summer reading list for your child to get them ready to head back to school in the fall.

Read By Genre

The easiest way to set up a summer reading list is by genre. The word “genre” (pronounced jon-rah) is simply a fancy word for groups of books that have things in common, usually style or form.

There are several genres that are organized under two basic groups:

• Nonfiction - these books factual and can be about a variety of subjects.

• Fiction - these books contain stories that are made up by the author, and can contain imaginative or realistic elements.

Take Note of Interests

The key to summer reading is to help keep your kids interested, and reading by genre can help you do that. First, take note of your child’s interests. For example, if your son or daughter likes to build with Legos, then he or she might enjoy a book about constructing roller coasters. If your children are anything like mine, they’ll answer “I don’t know” when you ask them what they’re interested in. Skip the question and make a mental list about your child’s interests, and then help them pick out books in different genres that appeal to those interests.

Offer a Wide Variety

One of the great things about reading by genre is that it offers a naturally-occurring variety to what your child may read. These genres are separated under the two basic groups:


1. Autobiography/Biography - books written about specific people, these can either be written by a separate author (biography) or written by the person (autobiography). If your child is interested in video games, it might be time to read about those involved in the early stages of creating them.

2. Informational - this genre includes anything you and your kids might want to learn about, including biking, skateboarding, sports, rocks and gems, and space travel.


3. Historical Fiction - these stories incorporate accurate historical settings with characters that have been made up and placed there.

4. Fantasy – this genre is known for magic or talking animals and other impossibilities.

5. Mystery - these novels require the reader to try and solve a problem with clues. A must-read for kids during the summer!

6. Science Fiction – set in the future, these stories contain scientific elements and excitement.

7. Realistic Fiction - these stories are set in the present time with events that could realistically happen to the characters.

Help in the Search

Once you arrive at the library, help your kids search by interest and genre. Ask the librarian for help, or do a library computer card catalog search for what you’re looking for, like “dinosaurs, nonfiction” for example. Then go with your children and teach them how to find the books on the shelves, and don’t forget to sign them up for any special summer reading programs while you’re there!

Kelly Wilson is a busy mom, former teacher and freelance writer. For more information about using informational books to prepare kids to see the dentist, contact Dr. Gregory A. Williams, a Dentist in Tigard, Oregon.

Thank you, Kelly for your contribution to Mommy Rantings! Reading is so important for our children, especially during the summer! Readers: do you have any summer reading tips, tricks or ideas to add?

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