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Summer Series Reading List

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With summer underway, you may be searching for ways to occupy the kids and foster their literacy. Perhaps you’re concerned with how the pandemic has affected student reading habits. 

According to the report “What Kids are Reading: 2021 Edition” from Renaissance, a global leader in pre-K–12 education technology, children are not declining in their literacy skills. In fact, the opposite is true! 

One study through Renaissance and myON concluded the following:

  • Fall 2019: 4.3 million hours of digital reading
  • Fall 2020: 8.9 million hours of digital reading
  • Sample size: 7 million students
  • Number of books read: 255 million books
  • Number of participating schools: 26,344

Reading increased by 107%. As a result, math scores increased because reading literacy directly impacts math skills.

With so many books to choose from, where do you begin? First, help your child find books to which they can make a connection.

Consider these questions:

  • Do you prefer fiction or nonfiction?
  • What genre do you like to read? (e.g., comedy, drama, suspense)
  • Do you like short stories or longer books?

Then, distinguish between reading for leisure and reading for academia. Ask yourself, Do I want my child reading for fun or for study?

Start Now

You can start building literacy with your child today with as little as one story before bedtime. If your child is young, read the story and have your child follow along. If your children are older, encourage them to read with your help. You’ll find that the favorites you used to read to your kids are now books they can read back to you. 

Lengthen reading time over the course of a few weeks. Aim for 15 minutes for younger elementary children and 30 minutes to an hour for middle and high school students.

An hour may seem like a long time, but children can become easily engrossed in a good book for hours at a time!

For academic reading, Renaissance recommends considering the length of the text and the time it takes to read the text. Typically, students should be reading 500-1200 words, supported by instruction. The time it takes to read a text will vary based on grade level.

Now that you have a path toward supporting literacy this summer, check out our reading series recommendations from beginner to seasoned readers.

Pre-school & Early Elementary


Berenstain Bears Series

Authors: Jan, Stan, and Mike Berenstain


Lexile: 170-690

Interest level: 3-7 years


Biscuit Series

Author: Alyssa Satin Capucilli


Lexile: 80-260

Interest Level: 4-8 years


Junie B. Jones Series

Author: Barbara Park


Lexile: 330-560

Interest Level: 6-9 years


Upper Elementary & Early Middle School


Dog Man the Cat Kid Series

Author: Dav Pilkey


Lexile: 270-390

Interest Level: 7 years+



I Survived Series

Author: Lauren Tarshis

Fiction with Nonfiction Elements

Lexile: 590-620

Interest Level: 7-10 years


Wings of Fire Series

Author: Tui T. Sutherland


Lexile: 710-790

Interest Level: 8-12 years


Artemis Fowl Series

Author: Eoin Colfer


Lexile: 600-930

Interest Level: 8-12 years


Sugar Creek Gang Series

Author: Paul Hutchens


Lexile: 1000-1290

Interest Level: 8-12 years



Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series

Author: Jeff Kinney


Lexile: 910-1060

Interest Level: 8+ years




Who was... / What was… Series

Author: Various


Lexile: 570-1020

Interest Level: 8 years+





Upper Middle School & High School


The Hunger Games Series

Author: Suzanne Collins


Lexile: 800-820

Interest Level: 12 years+


Harry Potter Series

Author: J. K. Rowling


Lexile: 880-1030

Interest Level: 12 years +


The Lord of the Rings Series

Author: J. R. R. Tolkein


Lexile: 810-920

Interest Level 12 years +





Divergent Series

Author: Veronica Roth


Lexile: 700-830

Interest Level: 14 years +


What reading series have your kids enjoyed? Share your recommendations in the comments section below.





Nicole_Thompson_2021-1Nicole Thompson is a contributing writer and editor to the Lincoln Learning blog. She brings more than a decade of experience in education, curriculum, and communications to her blogs. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a Master of Science in Instructional Leadership, with certifications in secondary English and Communications. Nicole is married with four children and has a spunky golden retriever named Cinder and a rescue dog named Annie Banannie.