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6 Summer Books for Kids

stack of books

Kids this age have been practicing some reading basics -- identifying letters, blending sounds, and tracking their eyes from left to right. Your child may have even made a breakthrough in tackling books independently. But how do you keep her momentum going when school's out?

Experts say that the key is to get your school-age child to pick up books on her own -- ideally three or more times a week. Look for stories that spark her interest or speak to some of her recent experiences, such as starting day camp or becoming a big sister. Of the many children's books available, titles that contain basic sight words, repetition, and some challenging new vocabulary will help her continue to develop her language and comprehension skills. To jump-start your child's summer reading, we've rounded up teachers' top recommendations. Depending on her reading level, she may be able to finish these on her own or want you to read them to her. Either way, these picks will have her smiling and turning the page in no time.

Relatable Reads

Dear Tooth Fairy by Alan Durant

Holly writes to the Tooth Fairy as she agonizes about giving away her lost tooth. Reach into real envelopes to find the Tooth Fairy's responses in this story that resonates with children who are eager to have a gummy grin.

Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el

Instead of breathing fire, Crispin Blaze exhales things like whipped cream and teddy bears. His unusual gift comes in handy when his family is in danger, reminding young readers that it's okay to be a bit different from everyone else.

Word Play

Let's Go for a Drive! by Mo Willems

Piggie and Gerald the Elephant are preparing for a road trip. The two pals go through their list of needed items in a sing-along fashion, introducing only one or two new words per page.

Up! Tall! and High! by Ethan Long

A colorful flock of opinionated birds demonstrates the concepts of "up," "tall," and "high" with hilariously unexpected results in three vignettes. Bonus: Each tale features a fold-out flap that reveals a surprise twist.

Conversation Starters

Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! by Grace Lin

Ling and Ting are twins, but that doesn't mean they're totally alike. The tale of their daily adventures, from getting haircuts to going to the library, puts vocabulary words such as "barber" and "clip" in context.

Would You Rather... by John Burningham

Explore the possibilities that present themselves in a child's life -- would he rather be dragged through the mud by a dog or covered in jam? Discuss the choices together to develop your child's comprehension skills. After all, good books are meant to be shared.

Originally published in the June 2013 issue of Parents magazine.