When my daughter was younger, I maintained a diary of our reading activities in weekly What My Child Is Reading entries in my blog. In this post I am featuring books that Smarty was reading on her own in the summer after kindergarten, when she was 5.5 years old. While my other entries in the series are focusing on picture books, here I am recommending picture books, non-fiction books, and chapter books, so it can be used for children of different ages depending on their reading skills.
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1. Father’s Day
My kindergartener loved Daddy’s Little Girl book by Ronne Randall illustrated by Estelle Corke. It’s a cheap edition that I picked up in a $1 section of a craft store, but it hit the right note with my daughter who was also learning to use her two-wheeler bike. It describes the relationship close to the one she shares with her Dad, and it was a good book to pull out before Father’s Day. For the past two years we picked a picture of them together and then Smarty decorated a wooden photo frame, but this year she made a Lego photo frame and card holder as a Father’s Day gift.
2. Grandpa Green
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. My daughter thought that the story is rather simple, but she enjoyed intricate illustrations more than she usually does. My own grandfather’s memory was taken by Alzheimer disease, so I (and other adults) saw more depth in this story that is seen by young eyes. Harrington Harmonies has a wonderful study on this book that includes both an in-depth art lesson and horticulture activities.
3. Adventures of Riley
Kindergarten graduates will enjoy longer picture books either by reading them independently or as read-alouds. Since we enjoy reading about distant lands, we both loved Adventures of Riley series by Amanda Lumry and Laura Hurwitz illustrated by Sarah McIntyre. The books are written as a cross between fiction and non-fiction, and cartoon-drawn characters skillfully merge with photographic backgrounds. I hope these series will be extended with even more books, because my daughter still loves them. We used the first book in the series, Safari in Africa, for our mini-study of South Africa.
4. An Artist Study – Marc ChagallSummer is a good time to do more art! I chose Marc Chagall as an artist to study, because he is one of my favorite artists and he comes from my birthplace –Belarus. We tried a non-fiction book by Mark Venezia from his series Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists. To my surprise my then 5 year old enjoyed it a lot. We did our own Chagall study, but Smarty was not too cooperative. Young artists from Creative Family Fun did much better recreating Chagall’s stained glass art with their oil pastels and watercolors project.
5. Magic Tree House
We had an assorted collection of Magic Tree House books from the library garage sales, but one of Scholastic book sale catalogs during Smarty’s kindergarten year offered a collection of paperback books 1-44 for $1 per book, and we splurged for a full set. I think 5-6 year olds are a perfect audience for this “chapter books classic” by Mary Pope Osborne. Smarty still rereads her favorites from time to time, especially Night of the New Magicians. Did you know that Mary Pope Osborne has the whole curriculum for the Magic School House with Magic Tree House printables and lesson plans? We didn’t use this curriculum, but we had a France mini-unit before, and now I am considering to surprise daughter with this adorable Eiffel Tower snack from Kiddie Foodies.
6. The World According to Humphrey
I stumbled upon The World according to Humphrey in the library, and brought it home as a read-aloud. I read Smarty the first several chapters, then she talked me into letting her read it on her own, because she was too impatient to know what happened next. I was also intrigued by the first chapters and finished the book on my own. Betty G. Bierney created a remarkable character out of a classroom pet, and my daughter was eagerly welcoming every new book in this growing series. I don’t like to recommend printables as a story stretcher, but since Humphrey is a writer, this free printable from TPT store of Anita Goodwin might be a good extension to the story.