SCWBI Summer Reading List could boost kids’ reading ability


School in Los Angeles begins August 16, 2016. It’s been a long hot summer, so slow the pace a bit, kick back, and read a book. It’s so important that the reading skills of children remain sharp.

According to an article in Reading Rocks, “Summer Reading Loss,” thirteen academic studies covering 40,000 students discovered that the reading proficiency levels of students from lower income families declined over the summer months. Also mentioned was a 2006 study where researchers proved that reading is the best predictor of academic achievement. In other words, the more children read, the better readers they become. 

According to the National Institute of Health, “When children become good readers in the early grades they are more likely to become better learners throughout their school years and beyond.”

Summertime to kids means sleeping in, camp, swimming pools, bike rides, and trips to the beach. It should also include summer reading bolstered by a Summer Reading List.

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) fills this vacuum. SCBWI is a non-profit professional organization for writers and illustrators in the fields of children’s and young adult literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia.

Each year SCBWI asks its writers to submit their books published by approved publishers for the organization’s Official Summer Reading List. New England, Canada, Midwest, and California/Hawaii, to name just a few, are example divisions from the list.

The list challenges children and their parents to find a special book that a young person would enjoy to fan the flames of adventure that reading provides.It's the First Day of Kindergarten

The California/Hawaii list provides books written by authors from the two western states. The list covers grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.

From the K-2 category kids will enjoy It’s the First Day of Kindergarten, Chloe Zoe! By Jane Smith. This colorful picture book shows Chloe Zoe on the first day of kindergarten. But all her friends are in a different class. Will kindergarten be any fun?Draculiza

In the 3-5 age group there’s Draculiza by Bianca Bagatourian. Feisty vampire, Draculiza decides to become a princess. She finds a way into fairytale world and turns it upside down.

Goodbye TchaikovskyFor kids in grades 6-8 try Goodbye Tchaikovsky by Michael Thal. It’s the story of a young violin virtuoso plunged into the world of the deaf.

Finally, for the high school set comes Punishment Summer by Peggy Rothschild, which covers hidden pot farms, human trafficking, and other secrets protagonist sixteen-year-old Nicki uncovers.

Goodbye Tchaikovsky and Punishment Summer are just a few of the 280 books suggested in the California/Hawaii Summer Reading List. Visit the SCBWI website and you’ll find the lists for sixteen divisions. All the books are in English except for the Spanish/Bilingual list.

Remember, summer reading stimulates a child’s mind keeping the cobwebs out for the return of school on August 16, 2016.



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Michael is the author of four published novels—Goodbye Tchaikovsky, The Abduction of Joshua Bloom, and The Koolura Series—The Legend of Koolura and Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback. He is also a columnist for the Los Angeles Examiner writing articles about parenting and education. His blog features YA authors and books.

One thought on “SCWBI Summer Reading List could boost kids’ reading ability

  1. Joe Bock Reply

    I would definitely recommend Goodbye Tchaikovsky for kids in grades 6-8 and also for older kids and adults.

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