The following post was written by Rachel Teodoro, who blogs at Holy Craft and is part of POPSUGAR Select Moms.

Study after study confirms that the advances a child makes in their reading during the school year can be quickly lost during what is referred to as "Summer setback." Reading for only 20 minutes a day can not only prevent that loss from occurring, but it can actually help to improve a child's reading level and better prepare them for the school year ahead.

My mom was a fifth grade teacher, and she knew the importance of encouraging Summer reading. When my siblings and I were home for the Summer, we always knew that we could earn money at home by participating in penny a page. For every page we read in an age appropriate book, we would receive a penny. Those pennies would add up, and oftentimes made great spending money for our Summer vacations.


Now that I am a mom of three, I encourage my kids in the same way. Our family makes frequent trips to the library, and we make it a priority to set aside time each day for reading. All three of my kids are independent readers, but there is something magical about sharing a book and reading out loud with your kids, even as they get older. Here, our favorite books you and your kids will enjoy this Summer.

Our favorite read-out-loud books (perfect for 8- to12-year-olds)

  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
  • Treasure Hunters by James Patterson
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate and Patricia Castelao
  • A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • Fudge by Judy Blume
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis

While reading with your kids is great, encouraging them to read independently is important too.

Books to encourage boys

  • The Lightning Thief by Percy Jackson
  • Middle School, the Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney
  • Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
  • Big Nate series by Lincoln Peirce
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
  • The Notebook of Doom by Troy Cummings

Books to Encourage Girls

  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
  • Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart
  • Freckle Juice by Judy Blume
  • James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket
  • Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Remember to make some time each day to read. Nothing beats Summer boredom like a good book!