Written by: Leela Kapoor and Pavita Singh
Have any fun plans with your kids this summer? Maybe going on a trip, hanging out at the beach, or having a backyard barbecue? Whatever fun you and your kids have got going on this summer, you should definitely make sure it includes reading.
Perhaps you’ve heard of something called the “summer slide.” If not, the summer slide refers to the loss of learning that takes place while kids are not in school during the summer. Research has found that the summer slide can cause the average student to lose up to one month of classroom instruction. According to the Colorado Department of Education, two thirds of the achievement gap in ninth-grade reading can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities.
On the bright side, when kids choose reading materials for themselves and read for fun, they exhibit improvements in reading comprehension, writing style, vocabulary, spelling, and grammar. The more kids read for fun, the more consistent the results. What’s more, 92% of kids say that they’re more likely to finish books that they picked themselves, according to data from Scholastic. Reading between 4 and 6 books over the summer can prevent decline in reading achievement scores during the school year.
If you’re looking for some ideas for what your upper-elementary-school-aged kids should read this summer, take a look at this list curated by Konversai’s youngest member, Leela Kapoor, who is 10 years old.
1. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate: This is the story of an art-loving gorilla named Ivan, who has lived behind glass walls in a shopping mall for a long time. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle until he meets a baby elephant named Ruby, who was recently taken away from her parents in the jungle. Ruby makes Ivan appreciate their original home. The One and Only Ivan has won numerous awards, including the prestigious John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
2. At Your Service by Jen Malone: At Your Service is the story of Chloe, who works as a junior concierge at her father’s fancy New York City hotel. This job is pretty much the best that she can hope for until the royal family comes to stay at the hotel and the youngest princess goes missing. It’s up to Chloe to prevent a complete disaster from occurring. This is a story that just keeps building and is full of unexpected twists and turns, keeping the reader on their toes.
3. The Baby-Sitter’s Club series by Ann M. Martin: The Baby-Sitter’s Club books (also known as BSC), follows a group of friends between the ages of 11 and 13 who run a babysitting service. Throughout the series, the friends experience trials and tribulations together. The series is a realistic portrayal of middle school life and demonstrates to the reader that even as friends go through obstacles, they can still come out strong.
4. Welcome to Wonderland: Home Sweet Motel by Chris Grabenstein: P.T. Wilkie lives in his grandfather’s motel, The Wonderland Motel, which, according to P.T., is the best place to be a kid. With all-you-can-eat poolside ice cream, a snack machine in the living room, and a frog slide, what’s not to love? The downside? Wonderland doesn’t have any customers. P.T.’s best friend Gloria is a business genius. Combining her business acumen with P.T.’s sense of adventure, the two must find a way to save Wonderland. This story demonstrates to readers the importance of hard work and dedication to achieve the results you want and that no obstacles are too great when it comes to helping the people and things you love.
5. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper: Eleven-year-old Melody has a disability. She cannot talk, walk, or write. But she has a photographic memory. Her mind is like a video camera with no delete button. She is the smartest student in school, but nobody knows it. Melody is constantly underestimated by her teachers and doctors, who think that she won’t amount to anything. Yet the reader can’t help but root for Melody, who must work hard to prove everyone wrong despite the odds against her.
6. Nancy Drew Diaries series by Carolyn Keene: The series follows the beloved Nancy Drew’s adventures solving mysteries. These suspenseful stories always have surprise endings, and the twists and turns of the plot keep readers engrossed. These stories also help stimulate young readers’ problem-solving skills.
7. Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney: This series follows Greg Huffley’s struggles to fit in in middle school. Although the series is meant to be satirical, it captures the challenges of what it’s like to be in middle school, helping readers know that they’re not alone. The illustrations are also part of what makes the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series so loved by children and teenagers around the world.
8. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin: Minli and her family live in impoverished conditions. At night before bed, Minli’s father tells her folktales of the Old Man of the Moon, who is said to have all the answers to life questions. Minli goes on a mission to find this mysterious old man to find out how she can help her family make a better life for themselves. This story shows that even those who are born into less-than-ideal conditions have the ability to rise to the top and live a good life.
9. Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan: When Otto ends up lost and alone in the Black Forest, he meets three sisters who help him uncover the story behind a mysterious harmonica that has been possessed by completely different people at completely different times. The novel takes readers on a journey through real-life historical events and shows how people, even strangers, are connected across space and time.
10. Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate: By the same author as The One and Only Ivan, Crenshaw is the story of a young boy named Jackson who has a tough life. His family does not have enough money for rent or food, so they are forced to once again live in a minivan. Jackson’s imaginary friend, a giant cat named Crenshaw, helps Jackson get through the rough times. Crenshaw is a story of resilience in the face of adversity and the strength that each of us has within us.
11. Who Was? series: Published by Penguin, this series comprises 120 books on a whole range of historical figures, from Sacagawea to Benjamin Franklin to Elvis and everyone in between. These books are a fun way for kids and teens to learn about history in a more casual, laidback manner than their history textbooks.
12. Maximum Ride series by James Patterson: This most riveting series follows a group of kids between the ages of 6 and 14 who are anything but normal. These kids (known as The Flock) are 98% human and 2% avian, but boy is that 2% powerful. With that 2% avian comes wings and special powers. The kids recently escaped from a laboratory called “The School.” The Flock’s adventures keep readers enthralled. These are books that you can’t put down.
If you or your kids want to talk more about any of these books, you can book a session with Leela or any other number of providers on Konversai—the world’s newest personal knowledge-sharing platform that allows for one-on-one live video conversations with anyone anywhere about anything. On Konversai, your kids can connect with other kids from all around the world. Similarly, you can connect with other parents from around the world and can discuss issues related to children and parenting.
If your kids are struggling in school, they can find a tutor on Konversai who can help them. They can also be a tutor and help other students who might be struggling with a certain subject.
Konversai is the place to talk about anything and everything that you’re passionate about and want to share, whether it be books, wine, playing the piano, learning Italian, traveling to South America, cooking Indian food, or Pilates—the only limit is your imagination. It is a great way for your kids to maintain access to learning opportunities during the summer, even amidst your trips, sleepovers, and barbecues. Users are encouraged to both knowledge providers and knowledge seekers on Konversai, and providers have the option of charging for their time. If you don’t need the money, you also have the option of holding sessions for free or donating your earnings to a charity of your choice.
Everybody, no matter who they are or where they come from, has valuable knowledge, skills, and experiences to share that can benefit someone somewhere else in the world. All they need is a platform to share that knowledge. Similarly, geography, technology, and finance should not be barriers in accessing knowledge. Konversai addresses both of these challenges. Be part of the movement of enriching your life and the lives of others by joining Konversai today.