Monday, July 14, 2014

Reading By Flashlight

After I posted my Summer Reading Guide For Families last month, I received an e-mail from a reader asking about the books my kids like to read independently.  For the third year in a row, we are doing our own "summer reading program" at home.  With the free time that summer affords (plus the incentive of earning prizes), my kids are flying through books!

With my own never-ending to-read list, I don't have the time or desire to preview every book that comes into my house.  My kids know our family standards and I trust their judgement, but it is always a treat when we find a series the kids love and they can read their way through the whole set without worry!

Last summer when Owen moved into fluent-reader territory, but was still intimidated by thick books, he started on the Nate the Great seriesby Marjorie Sharmat.  Each book is broken into four or five manageable chapters.  The mystery genre resonated with him and he chose two or three of these to review when he wrote book reports for school in the fall. All my kids (even the older ones) also enjoy this series on audio book.

After discovering that Owen liked mysteries, it was an easy transition into the Young Cam Jansen seriesby David Adler. He asked me to print out a list of titles in the order they were written. Then he read and checked them off one by one!

Maddie has discovered some favorites this summer, too.  Good thing because she's picked up the habit of late-night reading in bed.  She's listened to me read several of The Little House series aloud and she's checked out most the series on audio book so she was especially excited to find The Rose Years seriesby Roger Lea MacBride at the library.

Of an entirely different era is The Clementine seriesby Sara Pennypacker.  These books remind me of the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary.

What do your independent readers enjoy? Do you preview what they read or do they choose books on their own?


I'd love it if you would share this resource with your friends on Twitter and Facebook.  I've made it easy for you.  All you have to do is copy and paste:  

I just downloaded this year's Summer Reading Guide For Families from Bits and Pieces From My Life. Get your free copy here:  #familyreading


  1. We don't have any independent readers yet, but I can already tell that Jonathan loves mysteries. I'll keep Nate the Great and the Young Cam Jansen series in mind for when he gets older.

  2. Yep, we've had Nate the Great and Cam Jansen coming through the house this summer. I personally love Ramona - maybe I'll the Clementine books :) The girls here are working their way through the Royal Diaries series, and seem to be learning quite a bit about the different royal families from around the world, and through history, as well as enjoying the books.

    1. I thought I had never heard of the Royal Diaries series, but when I just went to look it up on my library website, the covers looked familiar and I realized we have one on our personal bookshelves at home!

  3. Yay! This was my email question for you. So fun to get new ideas! Some additional ideas I've written down include Adventures in Odyssey Imagination Station series (we LOVE these as read-alouds too!), Rachel Yoder series by Wanda Brunstetter as well as The Wisdom of Solomon. I'm hoping to look into The Castleberry Farm Mystery Series by Stephen and Susie Castleberry as well as The Happy Hollister Series by Jerry West.


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