Published August 1, 2023
Reading for Fun All Year Long
So, your kids made it through their summer reading list. But there are plenty of reasons to keep reading for fun year-round. According to Healthline, reading can increase your child’s IQ, their sense of empathy, and their vocabulary. It can also improve their memory, their sleep quality, and even their lifespan. With so many reasons to read, here’s a list of just a handful of our favorite reads for kids, broken out by age group.
A Quick Note
Every kid develops at a slightly different rate. So, when we mention that a book is great for a second or third grader, we’re talking about a very general ballpark. From there, you’ll have to use your own discretion. Reading is a great way to introduce your kids to new ideas, but be sure you’re comfortable with the subject matter. We always encourage adults to be aware of and engaged in the reading habits of their kids—why not read along with them and use the opportunity to let them ask questions and tell you their thoughts?
Ages 5 – 6
- The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
This is the story of a child who sets out to do something great, runs into a few obstacles, and learns that setbacks are perfectly normal.
- Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
This story of a Black daughter and father shows kids how to be their natural, beautiful selves.
- The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
This book teaches kids about our differences as people and different roles people play in society.
Click here for more books that are great for 5-6 year olds.
Ages 7 – 8
- Magic Treehouse by Mary Pope Osborne
This is a series of books that follow the fantastical adventures of a brother and sister and encourages a spirit discovery.
- Owly: The Way Home by Andy Runton
This is the first in a series of graphic novels all about being kind and seeing past our initial differences.
- Amelia’s Bully Survival Guide by Marissa Moss
This book follows the story of a child who decides to stand up to the class bully. It’s also an important rejection of bullying itself.
Click here for more books that are great for 7-8 year olds.
Ages 9 – 10
- Rules by Cynthia Lord
One of the main characters in this book has autism, which is a great way to explain to your kids that each of us sees the world differently…and that’s okay!
- Front Desk by Kelly Yang
This book is told from the perspective of a child of immigrant parents who speaks English as a second language.
- Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech
This book explores the special bond between humans and animals.
Click here for more books that are great for 9-10 year olds.
Ages 11 – 12
- City Spies by John Ponti
This is a great story about teamwork, in which a group of kids pulls together to solve a mystery.
- Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams
This book takes the reader into a secret civilization where the ruling class has too much power.
- Thirst by Varsha Bajaj
In this story, the characters don’t have equal access to clean drinking water. It’s a great way to start the conversation around natural resources and human rights.
Click here for more books that are great for 11-12 year olds.
Ages 13 – 14
- Mosquitoland by David Arnold
This novel may touch on some heavier subject matter, like divorce and illness (both physical and mental), but the story of a girl’s epic road trip with a cast of quirky characters has enough warmth and humor to win over the prickliest pre-teens.
- The Other Side of Truth by Beverly Naidoo
The main characters in this book are a brother and sister from Nigeria, where a corrupt military government forces their family to flee to London. It’s a powerful story about “courage, family, and the power of truth.”
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
For kids into sci-fi, this is a classic must-read. Alien enemies, genetic experiments, virtual reality, the battle between love and empathy vs. manipulation and authority…this book has it all.
Click here for more books that are great for 13-14 year olds.
Getting Your Child to Read for Fun
It’s time to address the elephant in the room. In an age of endless screentime, how do you get your child to read for fun instead of picking up their phone or game controller? According to Scholastic, 91% of children ages 6 – 17 said their favorite books are the ones they picked out themselves. Could the answer be as simple as giving them the power of choice? Why not put this theory into practice by scheduling a weekly family trip to the library? Have a chat on the way about some topics they’re interested in reading about that week, and then ask a librarian for recommendations. Encourage them to spend as long browsing the shelves as they’d like. Their new-found enthusiasm for reading could surprise you!
Need some more suggestions for getting your kids to read? SignUpGenius has an excellent list of “50 Ways to Make Reading Fun for Children.” Here are a few of our favorites:
- Keep books in sight at home and carry them with you in the car.
- Give books as gifts for holidays, birthdays, and just-because days.
- Keep it light by never making reading part of discipline or punishment.
- Have your kids read to your pets.
- Join reading contests.
- Ask your kids questions about the books they’re reading.
- Make frequent trips to the library or book stores.