There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all. 
– Jacqueline Kennedy

As teachers and parents, we are always challenging the kids in our lives to “read, read, read” during the summer.
There are reading charts, book clubs and incentive programs everywhere you look!

This is probably blasphemous coming from a School Library Media Specialist….but I would tell you to just STOP  nagging your kids to go READ!

(ESPECIALLY true for those RELUCTANT readers!)

YES….Stop Nagging!  

THIS is what I would suggest instead!

I challenge YOU to read to YOUR CHILD!
in other words…..

Put your money where your mouth is….
if we really believe that reading is a valuable way for a child to spend time….. 
then we need to spend time doing it with them.

Step 1: Read the rest of this post to discover some awesome, never fail Chapter Books.  I will do a couple of my “world famous” advertising blurbs for the books that you can share with your kids.

Step 2: Take a trip to the library, the bookstore or AmazonBook Store and get a book or two!

Step 3: Set aside some time everyday to read together.  WARNING….you will probably start by thinking 20 minutes will do it….but I bet before long….it will turn into an hour!

Step 4:  Talk about the book you are reading at odd times during the day….ask your child to predict what might happen next! Tell your child what personal connections the book might have for you!   It makes a nice change in conversation from “Go brush your teeth….Go Clean Your Room…..Stop hitting your sister!!! 

 The books I have chosen for this post are best suited for kids age 8-11.  Remember, just because these kids have gotten pretty good at reading to themselves…books that might be really interesting and thought provoking are still hard work for them to read independently!  When you read to them….the complexity of the ideas is soooo much more accessible to them.

Now on to my “world famous” advertising blurbs….and a couple of good resource lists!

  Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck

If you love cars, especially race cars, then this story is sure to please!
Set in middle America in 1914, this book has something for everyone!  A tornado ripping up a graveyard….strong female characters….history and a great story!    Can you believe that there was an Indianapolis 500 way back then?  Imagine a time when cars were curiosities!  Read along and think about how things have changed since the “olden days”!  You can even do a little research about  the famous Stutz Bearcat automobile that is still a prized collectable car today!

Parenting Tip:  There are lots of historical references in this book.  Take some time to look up unfamiliar terms with your kids.  They probably don’t know about root cellars or how old cars worked.  This is a great way to bring history to life.


The Meanest Doll in the World (a sequel to the Doll People) by Ann Martin

In The Doll People we find out that that dolls are secretly alive. You can read that first book and it is fun….but this sequel is really my favorite!  Imagine….the dolls end up in the human girl’s backpack and get hauled off to school. THEN….they end up in the wrong kid’s backpack and in the home of the meanest doll in the world! Will they be able to foil Mean Mimi, and keep her from exposing the secret of dolls? Will they ever get home? I guess you will have to read the book to find out!  Or see if you can listen in to your own doll’s conversations.

Parenting Tip:  This book might be a great way to talk about bullying and finding ways to be strong and clever in the face of a tormentor.  Ask the question- “What would you do?”

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

 Do you love video games…..but your parents won’t let you play them as often as you want?  Then this is the book for you!  “Ender” Wiggin is brilliant and is the obvious choice to be recruited by the government to be trained as a soldier to fight the hostile alien race that threatens to destroy Earth!  At the orbiting Battle School he plays at mock battles….but are they really mock battles?  The amazing young people in this fantastic science fiction story find a way to communicate without the elders knowing….(they actually invent the internet)! Ender and his siblings are characters that you will not soon forget.  This story may be even more fun than ANY video game you have ever played!

Parenting Tip:  This book is filled with opportunities to discuss family relationships.  The idea of whether the reality we Ender is experiencing is in fact “real” could make for some pretty interesting conversation!  

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

Lots of families have traveled to San Francisco to tour the famed Alcatraz Prison!  Can you imagine living there…..not as a prisoner but with your family because your dad is a prison guard!  It is 1935 and times are tough….the special school for “Moose’s” autistic sister is expensive and the job on “the rock” is the best way for the family to make it possible for her to attend.  Real live gangsters like Al Capone are near by which might sound interesting, but Moose is NOT happy….no friends….a sister with BIG problems….a busy mom and dad!  Then he finds a most interesting friend-the warden’s daughter- and they have lots of great adventures!  Moose learns to adjust….and it is a fun read along the way! 

Parenting Tip:  I love the way this book deals with understanding how to deal with autism.  The genuine feelings of the family impacted by this condition are heartwarming.  The chance to do some research about Alcatraz would be a fun “excursion” as well.  Since this book is set during the depression, a look into the difficult choices families made in this period of history is brought to life!

Check out these links to find lots of other good Chapter Books to read aloud!
These are the tried and true favorites.  Not so sure I would put “Captain Underpants” on any list….but the kids do love them….!
Great choices for books with strong female characters.
There has got to be something that you will love or remember on this comprehensive list.

Check out my Pinterest Board-Books Worth Reading Kid Edition to read some of the other book related posts I have written….

So take the CHALLENGE:  Stop nagging your child to “go do your summer reading” and join in the fun and say instead- “let’s go read!”