Saturday, July 5, 2014

Summer Reading

Summer break in our part of the country is about half over already. I have let T (8) take a break from school work because he (and I) really needed the break. The one thing that I have insisted that he continue with is his reading. T struggled with reading for about 2 years. He was an early reader in terms of phonics but the step between reading short phonetic books (early readers) and chapter books was about 2 years. Once he got it, there was no turning back. He loves reading now, although he still sometimes needs a push to get started on books that take more than 10 minutes to finish. I have been requiring him to read at least 30 minutes each day from his chapter books. I would like to share some of his favorites.

The Dragon Slayers' Academy by Kate McMullan

This is a 20 book series about a young boy who attends a school to become a dragon slayer. The boy is not a violent boy and ends up slaying dragons with jokes rather than a sword. My son loves this series. He is in the middle of the 12th book right now. Most of the books are about 10 chapters long and T will read 3-4 chapters in a 30 minute reading block. The series is recommended for kids who enjoy Harry Potter (but maybe aren't ready to read it themselves yet) and The Magic Treehouse series (my son didn't really enjoy this one but he did love Harry Potter).

Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel

You may know this one as a picture book. The first book in this collection is a picture book but there are also several chapter books that go along with it. Last year I read T one of the chapter books and I have to say, it is really funny, especially if you have a cat. These books are not as full of text as the previous series but there are lots of great pictures and the humor makes my son want to read these just for fun. Bad Kitty is even sponsoring some $1 summer movies in some areas, where you can meet "her".

The Secrets of Droon by Tony Abbott

This is a very large series of short chapter books. T has only read the first 4 books and I read that there are 40. This series reminds me of The Magic Treehouse books but it deals with fantasy themes rather than historical themes. Most seem to be around 100-150 pages which is a good size book for T to finish in 3-4 days.

The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling

Silly, funny book about a boy who is given the gift of turning anything his lips touch to chocolate. He then learns that too much of a good thing isn't a gift at all. Super cute, fun book that doesn't take long to read.

How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell

Who didn't read this book as a child? I loved this book when I was T's age (and so did my sister, who sent him this book as a birthday gift). There is something about eating worms that kids think is funny. Don't worry, I don't know a single kid who actually ate a worm after reading this book.

Read Alouds

I also have been continuing our read aloud time during the summer. The kids both really love being read to and I enjoy that special time together. B (2.5) is read several short toddler books throughout the day and at bed time so our main read aloud books are aimed at T (8)'s level. They both listen but he understands the story line and she mostly just enjoys hearing me read.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

We are reading The Chronicles of Narnia series in order of publication and have just finished The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. After each book we enjoy watching the movie together. There is some controversy over which order the books should be read. The books currently in print are numbered according to the timeline of events in the story. We chose to read them in order of publication because some of the books take place in an earlier chronological time but reference books that were published before them. For example, a main character Aslan is referenced in The Magician's Nephew (book 1 on numbered series), whereas his introduction is made in The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe (book 2 on numbered series). If you read them in publication order you can just consider that book a prequel when you read it. Either way, this is a wonderful series and the movies for the first three movies were pretty good too.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

We just started this book last week and the kids are loving it. It is about a mysterious club for gifted children. I will update more on this series (4 books) when we finish the first book.

What are your kids reading this summer?

If your child reads 8 books this summer they can earn a free book from Barnes & Noble. T choose a Bad Kitty book from their list of free books. Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program

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