Summer Reading

By Julia Fitzgerald

Elementary School

Here’s one of my favorite tips for parents: Studies have proven that kids enjoy reading more when they’re able to pick out the reading materials themselves. Our family certainly proves that point!


Summer has always been the season when my kids can read to their heart’s content — and exactly what they want to read. It’s also a great opportunity for kids (and their parents) to pick something that they want to learn just for the sake of knowing it.


This year my daughter had some major motivation pushing her through her ninth grade finals — the stack of Harry Potter books on the floor next to her bed. Because she wasn’t allowed to crack the first cover until she was done with school, she powered through exams knowing her old friends, Harry, Ron, and Hermione, were waiting for her on the other side. Next on her summer reading list is “The Great Gatsby,” so she’ll have as great an appreciation for the movie as she does for the dreamy Leonardo DiCaprio.


The other thing she’s looking forward to learning this summer is hip hop dancing and test-taking skills.  (Not at the same time, I hope.) With so much emphasis on PSATs, ACTs and placement testing, she figures that she would like to start sooner and feel less pressure as her junior year approaches. As for the hip hop dancing —well, who doesn’t want to be able to do that?


My son’s reading list ranges from “A Separate Peace” to “The Art of Being A Wall Flower.” And he’s even contemplating reading one of my favorites, “Bel Canto.” His learning goal for this summer? Coding! When I was his age, I didn’t even know what that was. Maybe that will be my goal next summer.


Are your kids coming up empty on books to add to their summer reading roster? Check out Sylvan’s Summer Reading List. With plenty of titles sorted by age and interest, your children will be sure to find something that’ll keep them hooked.