The weather's warm, the flip-flops are out and your child has gleefully graduated from kindergarten. Next stop, first grade! While it may be tempting to spend the rest of the summer at the beach, it's important that your emerging reader practice those skills over the summer. Picking a few books from a first grade summer reading list can not only help her keep her reading skills in tip-top shape but, whether you read to her, with her or just listen to her read, it can also be a great way to spend time together as a family.
1. Scholastic "Hello Reader" Series, Levels 0, 1 and 2
Scholastic has done a wonderful job of putting together an inexpensive series of readers in a number of different levels. Children entering first grade usually will do best with the first three levels, which work their way up from one word per page to short sentences using a number of familiar sight words. The readers vary in topic from non-fiction to silly stories and rhymes to basic stories about animals and children.
2. Henry and Mudge, series (by Cynthia Rylant)
Henry is a boy and Mudge is a dog with a love of crackers and a tremendous loyalty to his fun-loving owner. The 25 books in the Henry and Mudge series will amuse your child and allow her to learn small life lessons right alongside the giant dog and his boy. Each book typically contains three chapters which, much like the Frog and Toad books are standalone stories.
3. First Grade, Here I Come! (by Nancy Carlson)
Henry's uncertainty about first grade lessens as he tells his mother about his first day and realizes that for every bad thing that happened, there was something good as well. With easy to read print and text full of common sight words, this book should not only ease your child's mind about first grade, but also give her the opportunity to show off her reading skills at their best.
4. Chrysanthemum (by Kevin Henkes)
Chrysanthemum loves her name, but the other children make fun of her. The dilemma this book poses is a one all first-graders need to figure out: How can you be yourself when the kids around you don't always appreciate it? If your child likes this book, it's time to move on to other Kevin Henkes books: "Owen," "Wemberly Worried," and the series of stories about Lilly (and her purple plastic purse).
5. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (by Laura Joffe Numeroff, illus, by Felicia Bond)
This beautifully-illustrated, predicatable text book is just the first in a whole series of "If you..." books, including "If You Give a Moose a Muffin," "If You Take a Mouse to School" and "If You Give a Cat a Cupcake." Each book explores a circular theme that keep your child guessing. What happens if you give a mouse a cookie? What will he want next and how will it lead back to wanting a cookie? Your child will have a lot of fun trying to figure out how the animals in these books will work back to the original item they were given.
6. Frog and Toad, series (by Arnold Lobel)
The Frog and Toad books are classics that have appealed to children for generations. The books about this lovable and goofy pair are split into chapters, each one containing a complete story. This makes it easy to read a little about their antics and put the book down for later.
7. The Listening Walk (by Paul Showers, illustrated by Aliki)
A perfect book to accompany those summertime walks. In this book a little girl and her father go for walk together and discover the amazing sounds that the world around them makes. "We're going on a listening walk. Shhhhh. Do not talk. Do not hurry..."