One way you won’t regret using your summer

There are very few things that I am confident of in parenting. One thing though, that I am fairly confident of, is that I will not look back and regret time spent reading to my kids. Now hear me correctly, it doesn’t mean I do it all the time (or that I’m that great at it). Often I choose, for both good and bad reasons (really, selfish reasons), not to read to my kids; but overall, I am thankful for the opportunities to sit on the couch and read. And in many ways, I suspect those memories will become even richer as time passes, my kids get older, and these times become rarer. With this in mind, I would like to allocate some time this summer to be intentional about reading to my kids – nothing massive, maybe two or three books, read out loud to whomever will listen.

So if you too think this is worth an attempt this summer, let me recommend three books that have been huge wins in our family. I asked my two early elementary-aged boys to help decide which three books to endorse here – and after much debate and wavering, we came up with:

  • Trumpet Of The Swantrumpet – This book written by E.B. White (think Charlotte’s Web) is about Louis, a trumpeter swan, born without a voice – which is a major setback for a swan known for its beautiful trumpet sound. The book revolves around Louis’s pursuit to win the affections of his family and fellow swans. There is a load to learn in this book about friendship. It is aimed for 8-12 years old, but I can testify that it was a great read as an adult as well.


  • Frindle Frindle v.2– This book by Andrew Clements had our whole family in laughter. After I finished reading chapters, it was not uncommon for the boys to ask me to read a specific part again or to pick up the book and find a particular section to read themselves. It is a quick, fun read, revolving around Nick Allen, a fifth grade boy who after learning about dictionaries and the origins of words decides to rename a ‘pen’ to ‘frindle’. Much to his teacher’s seeming dismay, he gets his whole class and community to buy in to using the word. The author does a brilliant job of teaching as he writes and also develops wonderful, deep characters. I am sure you will enjoy this book, but just be aware that your kids will likely use the word frindle (or make their own word up) for the rest of the summer!


  • Detectives in Togasdetectives in togas – This book by Henry Winterfeld is a historical fictional mystery revolving around seven school boys in ancient Rome. One of the boys was caught writing CAIUS IS A DUMBELL on his school tablet (think clay not electronic!). Shortly after, the same words are found written on the Temple of Minerva, which is a serious crime. Everyone believes this particular boy is guilty unless his friends can prove otherwise. The book revolves around his friends trying to piece the truth together in order to rescue their friend. There are bits of humor mixed with genuine mystery. My boys were glued and wanting to read ahead to see how the mystery was going to be solved.

I think if your family indulges in any of the above books that you will be glad you did. We certainly were. In fact, my boys just asked if we could read two of them again.

One Comment

  1. Thanks, Erin! I love read-alouds suggestions and we happen to have Trumpet of the Swan sitting on our shelf untouched. We’re just finishing up My Side of the Mountain and it’s been a big win, too.

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