summer reading list

Summer Reading List for Older Kids

When I was growing up, I read all the time. We lived a half mile from the library, so my sisters and I rode our bikes there all the time; we were homeschooled, so we could go during the day. I read All. The. Books. Books about Anne-with-an-E, Narnia (my favorite was A Horse and His Boy!), about Teseracts, and Beezus and Ralph S. Mouse.

When my kids were younger, we read all the picture books, but I was super excited when they started to read on their own, and even to read chapter books that I loved. Except, there was one problem.

My kids aren’t reading the books I knew and loved as a kid. They’re still reading, but they’re reading books with pictures, like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books and books that are more graphic novel, but not really. These books have my kids reading, but they aren’t really learning anything or expanding their minds.


I remember reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and being enthralled with that time period, and how they had to kill, clean and cook their own food, as well as make their own clothes. I learned about adventure by reading about Robin Hood, or King Arthur. But my kids aren’t reading those.

This has really bothered my husband, as well. So he set out to make up a summer reading list just for them (and now you!) These are geared specifically to our children, who have just finished 3rd, 5th and 6th grade, but you could probably use them for slightly older or younger children, depending on their reading ability and maturity.

Most of these books are Newberry Award Winners, which means they’re awesome, basically. I’m including them below as a download that you can print and put on the fridge; purchase (or get from the library!) all the books on the lists, or pick and choose just a few.




7th Grade Summer Reading List

6th Grade Summer Reading List

4th Grade Summer Reading List

These books are also perfect for reading aloud; sometimes, if your child shows no interest in reading a book, read the first chapter or two out loud. These books are so engaging, your kids will be hooked after that, and want to read through the rest of the chapters themselves.

I’m hoping to get my children hooked on reading classic and award winning books this summer. Let me know below what your favorite books were growing up, and what your kids are reading now. Tell me I’m not alone in the graphic novel department!


  • Alex Snider May 23, 2017 at 10:14 am

    My Granny was a librarian so I was always at the library, too! I LOVE to read, but my boys don’t seem to enjoy it so much. I’m trying to get them more interested in books than they are in electronics!

  • Amanda May 23, 2017 at 11:21 am

    I’m so excited for your lists!!

    My kids have read every book I could think of – we’ve been needing a fresh bunch to pull from.

  • Liz May 23, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Love this list! My girls are both big readers, but it seems like all the new books, Smile, Baby Sitters Club (the new ones) remind me of comic books. I’m never going to complain about my kid reading, but I will encourage them to try some of these books too.

  • Jen May 23, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Love your reading lists and how they’re broken up by grade level. I have a daughter going into the 5th grade and she hasn’t read too much from the 4th of 6th grade lists. We try to do more read-alouds during the summer, so this will be a great resource. And you are definitely not alone with the graphic novels – our daughter loves them and inhales them, so we started making a rule about how many chapter books (with just words) she had to read before she could get another batch of graphic novels. There is something to be said about the classics. Thanks again!

  • Corey | The Nostalgia Diaries May 23, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Awesome list! I used to love so many of these books!

  • Marie, Mamma's Cooking May 23, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Thank you! Great list! Great ideas for summer reading!


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