39 Librarian-Recommended Books to Check Out This Summer

Reading has many benefits — but students sometimes struggle to find books they love. Find out which books may help your child avoid summer learning loss and cultivate a lifelong interest in reading.

Reading Effects

In What Reading Does for the Mind, researchers Cunningham and Stanovich suggest that students who read more by volume experience more overall cognitive benefits — regardless of reading ability — than students who read less.

They "sought to examine the unique contribution that independent or out-of-school reading makes toward reading ability, aspects of verbal intelligence, and general knowledge about the world." Their study finds that avid, independent reading has a much higher impact on vocabulary development than oral language, and a good vocabulary is critical to developing comprehension in any subject, improving overall communication, and boosting academic and even social confidence and competence.

Combatting the Summer Slide

There’s a mountain of research about the benefits of summer reading.

The summer slide is real, and kids can lose a great deal during those school-free months. The summer slide disproportionately affects lower-income students, who can lose up to two months of what they learned in school the year before.

Johns Hopkins University conducted a 2007 study that showed two-thirds of the achievement gap between lower-income and more affluent ninth-graders came solely from the summer slide in elementary school.

Keeping your kids reading during the summer is a vital step in reducing the achievement gap — and in helping them be ready to enter the next grade level. But should that summer reading be free choice, or mandated?

Reading for School, Reading for Pleasure

Lots of school districts require students to read over the summer, and some even pick the books. But there’s also research showing that students who are given access to books and free choice to read what they want perform better.

Getting the Right Recommendations

If you’re looking for a variety of books for your kids to read this summer, here are some ideas.

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