Reading with Mrs. Santora

I have so many memories of spending childhood summers reading. The stories I read didn't just stop when I closed the book. I remember playing between two large trees in my Granny's backyard, pretending that the space between was the raft that Huckleberry Finn traveled on. 

To help us celebrate summer reading is Jodi Santora, reading teacher, twin mama and all around rockstar. You can find her chronicling life with her red headed twins at Adventures with O and G.

Summer is here! As a teacher, I’m screaming “Hallelujah!” As a mom of twin 3 year olds, I’m whispering to myself, “What’s the survival plan?” If you want to keep your kiddos brains working a little this summer with more than watching SpongeBob cartoons and thinking of ways to get juicy revenge on one another, here are some of my favorite summer reads. When I think of these particular books, I get the sentimental feeling of summers gone by. The memories of these stories run through my senses as if they were made up of events that actually happened in my own life in the summers that I read them.  Basically, they are great books that draw us in. 

I find the best way to get a reluctant reader started is by reading the blurb on the back of 4 or 5 different books and letting them choose one. You have to SELL IT though. You are doing a book talk like an infomercial! Once they decide on a book to start with, keep their second and third choice books handy during reading time, just in case they change their minds. That happens. Make reading time relaxing and free of distractions. Build reading stamina by adding a minute or two to your time every few days. A primary student should be able to read independently for about 15 minutes. An intermediate student should be able to read independently for 20+ minutes. Reading over the summer helps maintain and even build that stamina!

I have read most of these treasures as an adult, so there is absolutely no shame in digging in to them with your kids. I truly believe the saying “readers are made on the laps of their parents!” Your kid may outgrow your lap, but they will never outgrow a read aloud!

For the Babes and Tots (ages 0-4)

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom 

The Little Mouse, the Read Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear

The Story of Little Babaji

Blueberries for Sal

Little Critter: Just a Day at the Pond

Froggy Learns to Swim

Curious George Goes Camping

A Ball for Daisy

Pete the Cat and his Magic Sunglasses

For the Littles (Ages 5-8)

Bink and Gollie Series

Because of Winn-Dixie

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer

Captain Underpants Series

How to Eat Fried Worms

Mercy Watson Series

Magic Tree House: Stage Fright on a Summer Night

For the Big Kids (Ages 9-12)

Tuck Everlasting

Bridge to Terabithia

Lawn Boy

Flora and Ulysses


Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series

One Crazy Summer



Percy Jackson Series

For the Teens (Ages 13+)

Where the Red Fern Grows


The Kane Chronicles

To Kill a Mockingbird

The Fault in Our Stars


Missing May

Diary of Anne Frank