Summer Reading Recommendations for Elementary School Students

Words by Debbie Szarko

There is no better time to get caught up with your reading than over the summer!

Our Lower Division Librarian, Mrs. Szarko, selected a number of her favorite books for Kindergarten – 4th Grade students.

I started working at Academy at the Lakes during the second year of its inception. After working for five years, I decided to start a family. So, I took a hiatus for a while to do the very important job of raising children. I never strayed far though. I was always visiting Mrs. Grifo and helping her in the classroom. When I had the opportunity to return to Academy and work with Mrs. Grifo in her classroom, I was overjoyed. I was able to work with my best friend and do something we were both passionate about — teaching children. I had the opportunity to build a library program where I could create an excitement about reading. Additionally, teaching about virtues like empathy, compassion, and perseverance would allow me to impact the lives of students, not just for today, but into the future of Academy and beyond.”

Andrea Beaty

If your child hasn’t read these books by Andrea Beaty, the summer is the perfect time to explore them. Curiosity, innovation, and persistence are found in her stories. These books have great vocabulary to discuss. They have rhyming words (especially great for younger students), humor, and detailed illustrations. I would recommend these books for students in Kindergarten to 3rd Grade.

Kobi Yamada

Kobi Yamada is the author of amazing books that challenge the reader to have courage, be inspired, and look at the experiences all people face in life. These books could generate great discussions between parents and children.

Explaining to children how you solved a problem, took a chance, or followed through on an idea help make these life lessons relatable. I would recommend these books for students in 1st to 4th Grade.

Chapter Books

I Survived the Children’s Blizzard, 1888 by Lauren Tarshis

This is the latest book in the series of historical fiction.

The stories in this series focus on an event in history.

Laura Tarshis says, “The theme of the series is resilience: how human beings can struggle through even the most difficult experiences and somehow not simply survive but heal — and ultimately thrive.”

Students who have read these books tell me they can’t put them down.

These action-packed books are engaging to reluctant readers. I would recommend this series for students in 2nd to 4th Grade.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

If your child hasn’t read Wonder or seen the movie, then I suggest you do both this summer.

WONDER is the funny, sweet and incredibly moving story of Auggie Pullman. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, this shy, bright ten-year-old has been home-schooled by his parents for his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the stares and cruelty of the outside world.

Now, for the first time, Auggie is being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. The thing is, Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

Through the voices of Auggie, his big sister Via, and his new friends Jack and Summer, WONDER follows Auggie’s journey through his first year at Beecher Prep. Frank, powerful, warm and often heart-breaking, WONDER is a book you’ll read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page. (Amazon)

I would recommend this book for 3rd Grade and up.

We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio

For PreK3 to 2nd Grade students, I recommend We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio

We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children. (Amazon)

Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

This is a story about a girl named Ally, who has hidden her dyslexia for years.

With the help of her teacher, Mr. Daniels, Ally learns to overcome her disability and celebrate her uniqueness.

I would recommend this book for students in 4th Grade and up.

Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the troublemaker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike. (Amazon)