Books can transport young minds to new worlds, spark creativity, and ignite a passion for learning. At Insight PA Cyber Charter School, an online K-12 school that is tuition-free (for families), we encourage all our students to develop a life-long love of reading. 

Summer is a perfect time to explore new books and take the time to read as a family. Here are five suggestions to keep the reading spirit alive in your home this summer:

  • Create a reading nook
    Gather all the pillows and blankets and find a place in the home where your child feels most comfortable.
  • Establish family reading time
    Reading as a family encourages reading and fosters togetherness. 
  • Visit the library or a bookstore
    Make a trip out of reading and allow your child to choose the books that excite them.
  • Incorporate technology
    Embrace the digital and look for e-books and audiobooks. 
  • Share your love for reading
    Do you remember the book that made you fall in love with reading? Share it with your child and be a reading role model.

Finding books that entertain and educate can be challenging in a world filled with distractions. Here are eight books, listed according to grade level, that cater to different interests, ensuring a perfect match for every reader.

“Bugs Don’t Hug” by Heather L. Montgomery (Contemporary, Grades K-3) Playful contrasts between human and insect behavior will captivate young readers as they listen to the read-aloud-friendly text and view the alternating cartoon like spoofs on human living and detailed bug environments. In one picture, a bug hides its eyes and exclaims, “Where’s Baby?” to two excited baby bugs.

“Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution” by Sherri Winston (Contemporary, Grades 3-5) Inspired by real stories of Black girls fighting dress codes that discriminate against their hair and culture, beloved author Sherri Winston introduces a memorable character who finds her way to speak up for what’s right, no matter what it takes.

“The Crossover” by Kwame Alexander (Verse Novel, Grades 4-8) “The Crossover” combines poetry and basketball in a way that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. Kwame Alexander’s novel explores family dynamics, friendship, and the challenges of adolescence through the lens of sports and verse.

“The Do More Club” by Dana Kramaroff (Book in Verse, Grades 4-8) A Jewish boy’s bravery and kindness are tested after an antisemitic attack on his middle school in this rousing novel in verse. Ever since twelve-year-old Josh Kline found an antisemitic note in his family’s mailbox in third grade, he has felt uncomfortable about his Jewish identity.

“Fish in a Tree” by Lynda Mullaly Hunt (Realistic Fiction, Grades 4-8) Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s “Fish in a Tree” tells the story of a girl with dyslexia who discovers her own unique strengths. This heartwarming and relatable tale promotes understanding and acceptance, making it a valuable read for students of all abilities.

“Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson (Non-Fiction Verse, Grades 5-8) This powerful memoir, written in verse, takes young readers on a journey through the author’s childhood, offering a glimpse into the Civil Rights Movement. It’s a compelling and accessible introduction to historical events and personal experiences.

“Restart” by Gordon Korman (Realistic Fiction, Grades 5-9) Gordon Korman’s “Restart” is a thought-provoking novel that explores themes of friendship, identity, and second chances. This engaging story follows a boy who gets a fresh start after an incident, encouraging readers to reflect on the importance of empathy and personal growth.

“I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai – Young Readers Edition (Non-Fiction, Grades 6-12) Malala Yousafzai’s inspiring story is presented in a young reader-friendly edition. This autobiography sheds light on the importance of education and the courage to stand up for one’s beliefs, making it an empowering and educational read for children.

These are just a few of the wonderful books your family can dive into for summer reading. Looking for more recommendations? Try these summer reading ideas from Brightly or Common Sense Media’s list of books kids should read before they are 12. And don’t forget to check out your local Pennsylvania library.

Let’s embrace the magic that books bring into our lives and the lives of the learners we nurture. Happy reading, and happy summer! Remember, it’s not too late to join our community and read with us all year round!

About Insight PA

Insight PA is an engaged, connected learning community serving K through 12 students across the state of Pennsylvania. Our tuition-free (for families) online public school offers a personalized and flexible learning experience, options from dual enrollment to career pathway programs, removing barriers to education, and giving every student the opportunity to learn in a supportive, engaging environment. We offer a curriculum that is comprehensive, compelling, and representative of our diverse community so that students are motivated to learn. Insight PA students become strong problem solvers, critical thinkers, lifelong learners, and responsible citizens, developing the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to pursue their goals and achieve their full potential. Join us — We’re now enrolling!