Parents want their kids to read for enjoyment, not only to learn to read. The extended summer break is the perfect opportunity to help your child cultivate a lifelong love of reading and advance their language and literacy abilities.
Reading on your own or reading aloud to your child will both help you prevent the dreaded summer slip. Children can lose up to two months’ worth of reading proficiency over the summer, and studies indicate that reading for pleasure in an unstructured setting will keep kids’ minds active and engaged for longer than weeks of math and science homework.
At Dubai’s Royal Grammar School Guildford, Kate Riddle, the librarian, says: “The key to producing lifelong readers is cultivating an intrinsic love of reading. Children who read more frequently and for enjoyment succeed academically more, according to research. For readers to feel empowered and for children’s book selections to be valued, the self-selection feature of reading materials is crucial.
“The summer can be a wonderful time to read more extensively and expose your child to a variety of genres and books. You can suggest that your child keep a summer reading journal in which they log the books they have read. Making a bingo-style reading challenge board may be another entertaining challenge!
The summertime may be a fantastic time to visit your neighborhood library and bookstore, many of which offer summer reading programs and activities. Ms. Riddle continues, “Family trips to libraries and bookstores and chats about reading also support the development of reading habits and a favorable attitude toward reading.” Ms. Riddle suggests the following books for kids of all ages to get you started.
Early Years: 3 years and above
- This Book Just Ate My Dog by Richard Byrne
- There’s a Bear on My Chair by Ross Collins
- Curious Questions & Answers About Our Planet
- Maybe Something Beautiful by Isabel Campoy
- Little People, Big Dreams series
Young readers: 7-10 years
- I Survived graphic novels Series
- Planet Omar series by Zainab Mian
- The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
- The Girl who Stole an Elephant by Nizrana Farook
- Science Comics series by Maris Wicks
Older readers: 10-14 years
- Pony by R.J Palacio
- Holes by Louis Sachar
- The Explorer by Katherine Rundell
- Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
- The Way Things Work Now by David Macauly
We wish to give a shout-out to Charis Wightman, Head of Primary at Durham School Dubai, who shares brief evaluations for her top three picks (including her own published book, The Girl from Saikea)!
7–10 years: Operation Bunny by Sally Gardner
When Emily Vole’s neighbor passes away, she leaves her a store, several sets of keys, and a smart cat named Fidget. When they stumble into Harpella, the great fairy-snatcher, they are forced to abandon their plans to reopen the Fairy Detective Agency, and their adventures really start. This is the first in a series of six books, and the summer will just about be long enough to read them all if you enjoy innovative story-telling, a modest, unassuming, and wonderfully brave heroine, humor, and adventure.
10–12 years: The Whispering Road by Livi Michael
The young people who work on the farm have a strange quality. They seem to age indefinitely. Joe and Annie need to flee because nothing is as it seems. In this tale, which is set in and around Manchester and is evocative of Oliver Twist but more approachable, Joe and Annie leave home with little more than the clothing on their backs in order to look for their mother.
Annie is troubled by the horrors of their workhouse history, and she claims to see ghosts, which worries Joe more and more. Joe must leave Annie in order to keep them both alive, even though a traveling circus offers a new life. Livi Michael describes a brutally unforgiving society in which young children must eke out an existence. A tale of suffering, love, kinship, and hope.
12+: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Seraphina explores a universe that includes people, dragons, and a few human-dragon hybrids. The protagonist of the book is Seraphina. She admits that she has to keep a secret in order to preserve her life. She is a musical prodigy who piques people’s interest, a reluctant participant in a historic event, and she gradually falls in love with someone she shouldn’t.
Themes of prejudice, unlikely acceptance, and love in all its manifestations are woven throughout the narrative, but not all of them are resolved (you must read the sequel, Shadow Scale, to find out the full resolutions). Relationships are formal and occasionally terrifying, and the fact that they are with people of the dragon kind is always there. The clipped voices of some of her characters, their casual behavior, and the gothic cathedral location all contribute to the constant undercurrent of danger in Seraphina. It is not a book that can be skimmed or put down quickly.