Schools Out! Summer Reading Challenge

School is out here in the Northeast US, and summer has begun for my children. They have started camp, we are planning some of our typical summer adventures (drive-in, museum visits, camping, bike riding, swimming, etc.). One of the other key parts of summer for us is an extension of what we do year round – reading.

Summer seems to afford us more time to read, and perhaps dig into those books we’ve been putting off. There seems to be something extra thrilling about finding a good spot on the deck, or grass (or even in a tree!) to be whisked away to another place.

This summer I am giving my children a summer reading challenge. There are about 10 weeks before school starts again, so I am giving them a list of 20 books focused on their reading ability, age, and interests. I want to encourage them to become better readers while experiencing quality literature. If they finish 10 of the books on the list, they get a toy or book of a set amount. We had to establish rules for each 10 books read, since my son wants to earn multiple rewards (and he is an avid reader, so good for him!)

My son is 9, but reads at a higher level so I have given him books that stimulate his reader’s brain while maintaining topics and content at his age level. My daughter is a beginning reader, and this summer I want to ignite that reading spark! Between kindergarten and 1st grade was an exciting summer for my son – he discovered books that were engaging and built his confidence as an independent reader. There will still be plenty of reading out loud here (I really do love a good read-aloud picture book), but she hopefully will end the summer a more confident reader.

So what’s on their lists? Check out our lists, and let me know in the comments if you have any other books you consider essential summer reading.

9 Years Old

  1. Harry Potter – Order of the Phoenix, JK Rowling
  2. The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster
  3. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg
  4. The Mysterious Benedict Society, Trenton Lee Stewart
  5. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, Chris Grabstein
  6. Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things, Cynthia Vogt
  7. An Army of Frogs, Trevor Pryce
  8. The Tale of Despereaux, Kate DiCamillo
  9. Homer Price, Robert McCloskey
  10. Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Patterson
  11. Book of Scavenger, Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
  12. Dragon Rider, Cornelia Funke
  13. The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop, Kate Saunders
  14. The Zoo at the Edge of the World, Eric Kahn Gale
  15. The BFG, Roald Dahl
  16. A Long Way from Chicago, Richard Peck
  17. The Island of Dr. Libris, Chris Grabstein
  18. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
  19. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne
  20. I Am Malala (Young Readers Edition), Malala Yousafzai


6 Years Old

  1. I Am a Rock, Jean Marzollo
  2. Hop on Pop, Dr. Seuss
  3. Cat the Cat Who is That? Mo Willems
  4. See Me Run, Paul Meisel
  5. Mitten, Lois M. Shaefer
  6. When I Get Bigger, Mercer Mayer
  7. Swimmy, Leo Lionni
  8. The Thank You Book (Elephant and Piggie), Mo Willems
  9. Can I Play Too? (Elephant and Piggie), Mo Willems
  10. Let’s Go For a Drive (Elephant and Piggie), Mo Willems
  11. I Will Take a Nap (Elephant and Piggie), Mo Willems
  12. Are You Ready to Play Outside? (Elephant and Piggie), Mo Willems
  13. A Big Guy Took My Ball (Elephant and Piggie), Mo Willems
  14. The Magic Rabbit, Annette LeBlanc Cate
  15. The Worst Helper Ever, Richard Scarry
  16. Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach, James Dean
  17. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, Doreen Cronin
  18. Llama, Llama Time to Share, Anna Dewdney
  19. Oliver, Sid Hoff
  20. Finding Nemo: Best Dad in the Sea


Happy reading, and happy summer to you all!