Do you remember being a child and spending those rainy days in the summer bored, trying to figure out how to make the clock spin forward quicker? Having friends come over to play or spending quality time with family made these days bearable. But on the occasion that neither friends nor family were available, something was always there: books. These books brought us under The Giving Tree, into Charlotte’s Web, and even on the Missouri River with Huck Finn. Here are some must-reads for your children. At Lake Forrest Prep, a private school in Orlando, we want to help our children find the adventure in summer reading!

  • Bedtime Read-Alouds: Before our children are able to pick up a book and read it themselves, it is up to us parents to read them fun and engaging stories. Fairly Fairy Tales by Esmé Raji Codell is a children’s book that mixes fractured fairy tales with question games like “Would you eat spaghetti made with gummy worms?” Another great story to read to your children before bed is the sequel to the traditional Goldilocks story, titled Goldilocks and Just One Bear. There are many other picture books for pre-readers that will keep your child laughing, pondering, and asking questions.
  • The Five-Finger Rule: Your child is in elementary school now and is getting too old to hear you read baby books about Goldilocks anymore. This is a sad time, but also an exciting one. Now your child is ready to read on their own. With this simple guideline called the 5-Finger Rule, you can estimate how well your child will comprehend what they are reading. Here’s what you do: Have your child go to any page in the middle of the book and read the entire page. After, have them hold up a finger for each word on the page they do not understand. Zero fingers means the book is easy. Anywhere from one to five fingers means the book is “just right.” More than five fingers means the book will challenge your child. Use this rule when introducing your first grader to We Are in a Book! by Mo Willems, your fifth grader to The Secret Zoo by Bryan Chick, or any of these books.
  • The Middle School Ages: Your middle schooler may be getting to the phase where they want to pick books without parental supervision. If you are not down with that, here are some books they will love. The Reckoners is a young adult fantasy trilogy written by best-selling author Brandon Sanderson and is filled with suspense and mind-boggling twists. For those unafraid to read literature on heavy topics, Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars is amazing. It chronicles the captivating escape of a Jewish family from Copenhagen during World War II. And, of course, J.K. Rowling’s magical Harry Potter series is a must-read for middle schoolers and people of all ages. These books will get your children sitting on the couch or on their bed, reading until they can’t stay awake any longer.

There is nothing wrong with playing videogames, watching television, and the likes. What we, as parents, have to guard against is allowing our children to spend their entire summer with these devices. Here at Lake Forrest Prep, an excellent private school in Orlando, we ask our parents to encourage their children to read, read, read. This will make sure our children are nurturing their minds, keeping sharp for the upcoming school year, and most importantly, having fun!