Summer Reading :: Raising Readers

Summer Reading :: Raising Readers

Summer evokes images and memories of days spent at the beach or poolside, working on getting tan, and being with friends. While all of that is also true for me, summertime also brings up some of my fondest childhood memories of being a volunteer at my local public library. Each week, I would escape the heat of the day in the gloriously air-conditioned library, surrounded by countless books on every subject and falling more in love with the Dewey Decimal system with each book I returned to its proper place on the shelf. My love of books grew with each summer, and now that I have children of my own, they have inherited that same love (with slight encouragement on my part). 

My older kids are reaching middle school age and are voracious readers, often finishing books in a day or less. While graphic novels like Captain Underpants keep us reading and entertained (shout out to Dav Pilkey—a true literacy hero), it is time for my kids to become more intentional about the books they are reading.   

Summer Reading :: Raising Readers

My reading experience was enriched when I had teachers who taught me to slow down, examine the themes of a book, examine the symbolism, and think as the author must have been thinking. I wanted the same for my kids. I want them to have a broader worldview, examine what they read, and gain empathy through the experiences that reading a wide variety of authors can bring into their lives. 

 I had suggested almost every age-appropriate book I could think of to them, so I asked my social media friends, “What were some formative novels that you remember reading in middle school and junior high?” My friends did not disappoint. I’ll include the list of all of our suggestions.

How Do I Know if The Book is Age Appropriate?

Before we get to that list of books, I want to share a tool I use to gauge whether my kids are ready to read a particular book (or even watch a specific movie). I will admit that with that much access to books, I chose great but inappropriate novels for my young mind. (Anne Rice — I loved you, but I should not have been reading your novels at eleven!) 

I often check to find out the recommended age for a book. You can enter your child’s age and then set content parameters to get suggestions of what might be appropriate for your child. This site and sites like it are not about censoring reading but about providing information about the content of books, movies, podcast episodes, etc., so parents can make informed decisions that align with their and their family’s values.  

I use this site to get a more objective view of the book’s content and then decide based on whether my child has the emotional intelligence and maturity to handle the content. Now, here is that list:

  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  • Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
  • Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (this is book one of the Time Quintet)
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis (book one of the Narnia series)
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams 
  • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
  • My Louisiana Sky by Kimberly Willis Holt

There were many more suggestions on that list, and I am looking forward to diving into each of them alongside my kids. I hope that it gives you some inspiration for summer reading. If you want to talk about books and reading, contact me — I’m passionate about it all! 

Mallory Moser
Mallory, a Louisiana native born in Opelousas, spent most of her childhood years in the surroundings of Carencro. She and her husband met in Eunice, and together they embarked on a journey guided by her husband's Marine Corps service. San Diego, California, became their cherished home, where they raised their three children before life led them back to Louisiana in 2019. Mallory has navigated the legal realm for the last fifteen years. Her path took an exciting turn recently as she embraced the broadcasting world over the previous four years. On the weekends, Mallory finds solace in the pages of books - usually reading Neil Gaiman or her book club's chosen book of the month. She cherishes moments spent walking the family dogs and embarking on bike rides with her kids and husband.


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