Classroom Connection: Summer reading for boys

Filed under: Big Kids, Tweens, Activities: Babies, Day Care & Education, Resources

As an elementary teacher, I get lots of the same kinds of questions from parents every year, and all of them fall into ghe general category of "How can I help my child to do his or her best in school." With Smart Start I'll be adressing a frequently asked issue realting to education. Feel free to respond in the comments with other questions you may have. My goal is to provide you with answers, tips, and insights to help you support your child as a learner at every stage.


Where I live, the air is fragrant with flowers and newly cut hay right now. It is July, and officially summer. Summer in a child's mind is a time of adventure and family, of lazy mornings and lazier afternoons.

But summer also marks the beginning of an important time in your child's academic career: a time of maintaining skills and progress. Children who do not spend time reading over the summer often show significant losses in their reading skills at the start of the new school year, and boys, specifically find it challenging to sink into a good book over the summer months.

Young boys who have just started reading chapter books often struggle with finding books that engage them. Many tend to prefer nonfiction texts or comics: stuff with a wow-factor and humor rather than character development and plot. Boys are often inclined to put the book down mid-way through and zip off to something more engaging if the book hasn't fully drawn them in, and nonfiction reading or comics caters to this style of reading.

But strong comprehension strategies are built and sustained by reading fictional chapter books that require readers to keep track of characters, monitor plot changes, make predictions, and build on prior knowledge. And it's a worthy summer cause to try and find at least one or two chapter books that belong to a series that your son likes, so that he can practice and build on some of these important reaching comprehension skills.

Summer reading for boys ages 6-9(click thumbnails to view gallery)

The Secrets of Droon Series by Tony AbbottEncyclopedia Brown Series by Donald J. SobolThe Boxcar Children Mysteries, by Gertrude Chandler WarnerWayside School (Series) by Louis SacharHorrible Harry Series by Suzy Kline


Here is a list of books that boys in my classroom have enjoyed time and time again. Many belong to a series-which have the added bonus of hooking the reader into a whole set of books with similar characters and plots. I've grouped them by reading ability. Many parents find it particularly challenging to find engaging texts for emergent chapter book readers, and I've included several books by authors that are tried and true favorites for readers who are just beginning to grasp the concept of chapter books.

Chapter books for emergent readers, ages 6-9


Fox and Friends, and any other books by James Marshall

Lyle, Lyle Crocodile, by Bernard Webber

Henry and Mudge, Poppleton, and any other books by Cynthia Rylant

Frog and Toad and any other books by Arnold Loebel

Amelia Bedelia, by Peggy Parish

Nate the Great, by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

Chapter books for proficient readers ages 6-9

Captain Underpants, Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robots Collection, and any other books by Dave Pilkey

The Magic Treehouse series, by Mary Pope Osborne

Marvin Redpost, by Louis Sachar

Cam Jansen, by David A. Adler

Freckle Juice, and many other books by Judy Blume

Chapter books for advanced readers ages 6-9

Horrible Harry, by Suzy Kline

The Boxcar Children, by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Encyclopedia Brown, by Donald J. Sobol

Wayside School, by Louis Sachar

Timewarp Trio, by Jon Scieszka

Secrets of Droon, by Tony Abott

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.