It’s April when my students’ parents begin to ask about the Summer Reading List, the Summer Activity Packet and the Enrichment Packet. I love this time because it comes just as the third-quarter report card is released, and parent conferences are scheduled. Things are winding down, and I’m at my best with a twinkle in my eye! Now, I get to hand the reigns of their child’s summer education over to them! What fun!

The brightly colored envelopes that contain the individual packets sit on the entrance table. Each packet is catered to the needs of each child and includes four books geared to his or her reading level and support materials on story structure and skills to practice. I also include print-outs indicating the growth of the child over the course of the year, detailing where he or she should be by the beginning of the new school year (I share much of this information with the student’s upcoming teacher, too, and I include any available Booksource Teacher Resources for the included titles).

Summer Reading Kits

The Summer Reading Kit

The books I choose range in interest from first through third grade. I also consider structure and other elements that address the needs of each student. Above all, the books must have an element of fun! What follows is a list of some of my go-to titles for summer reading:

The Amelia BedeliaAmelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish Teacher Resources Button books by Peggy Parish (Grades 1-3) are fantastic in learning about MULTIPLE MEANING WORDS. The first time I used her in the class, the students had absolutely no reaction. Hmmm, then I realized they just didn’t get it. Draw on the drapes? Why would she do that? After I explained several of the inferences, they howled with laughter. They got it. Suddenly, they couldn’t get enough of her books, they raided the library! In the summer-reading packets with Amelia books, parents and students will find an activity for creating a diorama of one of Amelia’s scenes where she misinterprets a word.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad DayAlexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst Teacher Resources Button by Judith Viorst (Grades K-3, Level M, Lexile AD970) is a perfect book for SEQUENCING because it all happens in one day from morning to night. This books lends itself well to an activity where the reader records his daily experiences and events in his summer composition book.

Look to the North, a Wolf Pup DiaryLook to the North, a Wolf Pup Diary by Jean Craighead George Teacher Resources Button by Jean C. George (Grades K-4, Level P, Lexile 580) teaches readers to create a TIMELINE or keep a daily DIARY of their life including thoughts and feelings at the time. Readers can also include photographs, drawings or collages to accompany their writing. By the end of the summer, students’ composition books will include all the rich material and make a keepsake of their summer.

SpidersSpiders Teacher Resources Button by Claire Llewellyn and Peter Buckoke (Grades K-3), a nonfiction title, offers strong examples of TEXT FEATURES (captions, fact boxes, diagrams, glossary, index) and fabulous colorful photographs. For this title, I include an activity where the reader researches text features in magazines, newspapers and brochures throughout the summer, collecting them in his or her composition book. Students can also create a text feature collage.

I Must Go Down to the Beach Again and Other Poems reinforces the fun and enjoyment we had reading poetry through the school year with a summer setting. Lessons from the school year like learning syllables and rhyming words and creating Haiku poems find their way in the activity packet. The readers can count the syllables in each line of the text, circle the rhyming words, and discuss the patterns found. In the composition book, students can create Haiku poems based on a beach like the title or another summertime theme. The title is currently out-of-print, but you might find it at the library. The activity may be applied to any book of poems.

Some other poetry books you might consider are: Hello Ocean Teacher Resources Button by Pam Ryan (Grades P-3, Level N) which brings into play the five senses experienced at the ocean; Zen Ties Teacher Resources Button by Jon Muth (Grades k-6, Level N, Lexile 460) about the summer Stillwater spends with his Haiku-speaking nephew, Koo; or Sidewalk Chalk Teacher Resources Button by Carole Brown Weatherford (Grades 2-6, Level R, Lexile 840) whose poems depict the colorful outline of neighborhood landmarks.

Hello Ocean Zen Ties by Jon Muth Sidewalk Chalk: Poems Of The City by Carole Boston Weatherford

The Enrichment Packet, an additional packet given to more advanced readers, includes two novels with chapter questions. For the activity, students can create a 3D interpretation of a scene from one of the books or write a play of one of the chapters, emphasizing DIALOGUE. My go-to series for packets are Junie B. Jones, who always creates problems for herself and is perfect for CAUSE AND EFFECT; Judy Moody, who has an attitude problem unless the situation is all about her, lending itself to opportunities in COMPARING AND CONTRASTING Judy’s character with the reader’s personality; and The Life of Ty which introduces PROBLEM AND SOLUTION to the readers.

Summer reading can be tricky, but with the right preparation, you can arm your students with the right tools for success!

Booksource Recommendations

Summer Reading Animal StoriesSummer Reading Animal Stories

Athlete Biographies K-3Athlete Biographies K-3

Summer Reading Kindergarten Imagination StoriesSummer Reading Imagination Stories