Academic studies, which date back as far as the 1950s, show that children who read during the long holiday come back to school an average of four months ahead of their non-reading peers. They plunge into the new school year with better comprehension and analytical skills. This does not mean that holiday reading should be legislated by parents, teachers or librarians. Holiday reading should be fun, and it should be the time for students to explore new genres and new writers.
Over the years, I have realised that young readers have certain preferences in writers just as adults do. Some of the most popular authors for children include Dr Seuss, Roald Dahl, Kate DiCamillo, Cynthia Kadohata, James Patterson, Michael Dahl, Andrew Clements, Lois Lowry, Michael Morpurgo, Jane O’Connor and Louis Sachar.
Students generally get stuck on a writer and they need a nudge in the direction of a new writer. The same goes for series. When they get hooked on a series, they generally finish the series and then look for a new series to entertain them. This is good because there are many great series out there right now as you will see from the list below.
Remember, it is important for children to choose the books that they want to read. This list features the books that most popular among children from 45 different countries in my school.
Kindergarten and Grade One students will enjoy the following books:
1. Lacey Walker Nonstop Talker by Christianne Jones.
2. The Day the Crayons
Quit by Drew Day Walt.
3. Children Make Terrible
Pets by Peter Brown.
4. You Will be My Friend
by Peter Brown.
5. The Little Bully
by Beth Bracken.
6. Green Eggs and Ham
by Dr Seuss.
7. Terrible, Awful, Horrible
Manners by Beth Bracken.
8. Winnie the Witch
by Valerie Thomas.
9. Skippyjon Jones
by Judy Schachner.
10. Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton.
11. Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor.
12. Meerkat Mail by Emily Gravet.
Standard One and Standard Two students can begin to explore chapter books and series.
1. The Mercy Watson series by Kate Di Camillo.
2. I Can Read Batman Classic series.
3. I Can Read Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish.
4. Katy Woo series by Fran Manushkin.
5. Library of Doom Series by Michael Dahl.
6. Magic School Bus Series (different authors).
7. Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osbourne.
8. Kylie Jean series Marci Peschke.
9. Dragon Blood series by Michael Dahl.
10. Marvin Red Post series by Louis Sachar.
Standard Three students delve into bigger chapter books and mysteries.
1. Not My Dog
by Colby F Rodows.
2. Geronimo Stilton series
by Geronimo Stilton.
3. So Zoey series by Chloe Taylor.
4. Horrible Harry by Suvy Cline.
5. Why Pick on Me?
by Louis Sachar.
6. Lunch Money
by Andrew Clements.
7. No Talking
by Andrew Clements.
8. A-Z Mysteries by Ron Roy.
9. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.
10. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.
Standard Four students explore mysteries and literature that concentrate more on theme.
1. Cupcake Diaries by Coco Simon.
2. Maximum Ride by James Patterson.
3. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.
4. The Sisters Grim by Michael Buckley.
5. All the Answers by Kate Messner.
6. The War that Saved My Life by Kimerly Brubaker Bradley.
7. 39 Clues (different authors).
8. Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadhota.
9. Flora and Ulysses by Kate Di Camillo.
10. The Adventures of a South Pole Pig by Chris Kurtz.
11. The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry.
Standard Five and Form One students delve into some classics, history and mysteries.
1. The High Seas Trilogy by Iain Lawrence.
2. The Giver by Lois Lowry.
3. The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis.
4. The Hardy Boys Series by Ranklin Dixon.
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
6. All Four Stars by Tara Dairman.
7. War Horse by Michael Morpurgo.
8. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.
9. Mysteries In Our National Parks Series Escape from Fear
by Gloria Skurzynski.
10. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place
by Maryrose Wood.
11. The Black Stallion (series) by Walter Farley.
As for local books, children from Standard Three through Form One enjoy Legend of the St Ann’s Flood with its folklore and Betty Peter’s Brown Sugar and Spice.