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. 11 Experiments That Failed
11 Experiments That Failed by Jenny Offill was one of Smarty’s favorites to read then and she is rereading it now. It’s a delightful picture book that combines light-hearted humor, brilliant illustrations by Nancy Carpenter, and some sneaky reinforcement of scientific method. Can washing machine wash dishes? What makes fungus grow? Read this book and enjoy illustrated answers to these questions. And then conduct a real experiment – for example, find a way to move water from one container and teach scientific method like Kids Activities Blog.
2. Measuring Penny
While we don’t do worksheets during summer, I believe in keeping math skills sharp by reading fun math books. Measuring Penny by Loreen Leedy is a great book to introduce and reinforce measuring skills including measuring length, weight, and time. Dog lovers will especially enjoy this book, since it also introduces different dog breeds. Of course, it’s good to practice some measuring skills after reading this book – The Imagination Tree has several interesting posts on measuring including this fun idea of constructing your own scale and measuring with egg cartons.
3. Ready to Dream
I make a point introducing books set in different cultures to our daughter. We made several virtual visits to Australia at different ages, and read Ready to Dream by Donna Jo Napoli during every visit. It’s a beautiful book, and illustrations by Bronwyn Bancroft might inspire your children to try some aboriginal dot painting of their own. We did ours on rocks during our hands-on Australia mini unit.
4. Around the World on Eighty Legs
Around the World on Eighty Legs by Amy Gibson is a book of short poems that take children to several different continents (skipping Europe!) and introduce them to various animals. I am thinking of getting this book back from the library and using it for a scavenger hunt next time we go to the zoo. Or you can create handprint animals – Red Ted Art has an amazing collection of animal alphabet handprint art for every letter.
5. Rainbow Magic
Rainbow Magic books by Daisy Meadows is a great series for children who are graduating from easy readers to “real” chapter books. The books are reasonably short and follow a similar pattern where human characters partner with fairies to recover lost magical objects while outsmarting incompetent goblins. My daughter never really cared for fairy worlds, but she surely read every single book in the series that she could find in our library – probably 60+ in all. If your children are into fairies, check out this terrific round up of 30+ Fairy Crafts and Activities from Happy Hooligans.
6. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory can be an excellent read-aloud for elementary school kids. If I recall correctly, we first listened to it as an audio book and then Smarty read it on her own or maybe I started it with her and then she took off on her own. She read it several times since then, but she always skips the beginning – the thought of Charlie and his family nearly starving to death is too much for her. There are any number of extensions that would work very well with this book, but I decided to choose this edible Nutella playdough from Still Playing School to recreate some of Willie Wonka’s magic. We tried this recipe ourselves recently, and it was a lot of tasty fun!