Summer Reading Recommendation

Grow your mind this Summer!

Summer reading poses a dilemma for many children: To read or not to read; that is the question. The short answer is that children should by all means read over the summer. There is, however, a difference between quality literature and that which will merely entertain, or even worse, corrupt the mind. It is simply not good enough to say that the more one reads, the better reader one becomes. Spongebob Squarepants and Super Diaper Baby are probably not going to improve the minds of your children much. It is important for children to read and appreciate quality literature.

Dr. Terrence Moore of Hillsdale College reminds us that high quality literature can be found in places where one may not think to look. According to a summer reading essay by Dr. Moore, Calvin and Hobbes is one comic strip which does indeed offer high level text. During a G.R.O.S.S. (Get Rid Of Slimy GirlS) Club meeting, Calvin states the following: “As we’re all aware, the enemy has infiltrated our territory and is spreading disinformation to the effect that homework ought to be done right after school! As my mom may have covert girl sympathies, we must eradicate the hostile forces!” Infiltrated; territory; disinformation; covert; sympathies; and eradicate are words that may require thinking throughout many age levels, especially children of the elementary school age. Good literature is not hard to come by; but one must look and be selective in the process.

Below is a list of books and stories that will improve your child’s mind during and after reading it. One should not feel obligated to read the entire list according to each grade level; The Iliad may be a tough slog for a 10th grader, especially one who has not been familiarized with such text through past educational experiences. It is for this reason that Pineapple Cove Classical Academy hires teachers who have read and studied the great works taught in their particular grade level. Reading, discussion, questioning-and-answering using classical literature in a classroom setting is much different than simply reading it alone at home. Nevertheless, summertime is an opportunity for your child to continue her learning, practice the skill of reading, and enjoy the great books and stories available to them. And just because you are an adult does not mean this list isn’t for you, too!

Of course this list is far from comprehensive, as there are certainly other quality books and stories available. The following was compiled using the Pineapple Cove Classical Academy curriculum, which was designed by Hillsdale College and the Core Knowledge Foundation. The idea behind this list stems from an understanding that this curriculum is likely very new for our PCCA scholars. Therefore the list recommends that your child read books and stories from prior grade levels in order to help him gain content from earlier in the curriculum. Yes, one could challenge himself to read the entire list; but that may not be the way to get the most out of summer reading. A different approach could be to select one or two items from the list at the recommended grade level, read, and write a summary about it. One could also download an audiobook version onto an iPod or mp3 player, and read it while relaxing on the beach. At the younger age levels, it is very important that an adult read aloud often to the child. Whatever way is chosen, and even if it is a combination of these ways, summer reading is important and highly encouraged by the teachers of Pineapple Cove Classical Academy.

Incoming Kindergarteners

This should be a time of read alouds by adults to children. Picture books, fairy tales, Aesop’s Fables, and folk tales of any sort should be read aloud. If your child is already proficient in reading, have her read aloud to an adult, brother, or sister. Daily reading of at least 20 minutes and discussion about the story should be the goal. Practice with neat penmanship, including letters, numbers, and short words and phrases will also benefit children of this age over the summer. Watch for proper pencil grip and letter formation, and remember that practice does NOT make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.


Incoming 1st Graders

Mother Goose and other traditional poems such as A Dillar, A Dollar; Baa, Baa, Black Sheep; Diddle, Diddle, Dumpling; Early to Bed; Georgie Porgie; Hey Diddle Diddle; Hickory Dickory Dock; Hot Cross Buns; Humpty Dumpty; It’s Raining, It’s Pouring; Jack and Jill; Jack Be Nimble; Jack Sprat; Little Bo Peep; Little Miss Muffet; London Bridge is Falling Down; Old King Cole; Simple Simon; Three Blind Mice; Assorted Aesop’s Fables


Incoming 2nd Graders

  • The Frog Prince
  • Hansel and Gretel
  • Jack and the Beanstalk
  • The Pied Piper of Hamelin
  • Pinocchio
  • The Princess and the Pea
  • Puss-in-Boots
  • Rapunzel
  • Rumpelstiltskin
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Incoming 3rd Graders

  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  • The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen
  • Assorted Brother’s Grimm Fairy Tales
  • How the Camel Got His Hump by Rudyard Kipling
  • Assorted fables such as The Blind Men and the Elephant
  • Assorted fables such as The Magic Paintbrush, El Pajaro Cu, and The Tongue-Cut Sparrow
  • Stories from Greek Mythology including Pandora’s Box; Oedipus and the Sphinx; Theseus and the Minotaur; and Daedelus and Icarus

Incoming 4th Graders

  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (could use as a read aloud by an adult)
  • The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
  • Tales from The Arabian Nights
  • Assorted poetry: Adventures of Isabel by Ogden Nash; By Myself by Eloise Greenfield; The Crocodile by Lewis Carroll

Incoming 5th Graders

  • Adapted version of Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  • Adapted version of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  • Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter
  • Adapted version of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Stories from the King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

Incoming 6th Graders

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (some dicey content, but an incredibly important work of literature – should be read with a parent if this book is selected)
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
  • “The Gettysburg Address” (speech) by Abraham Lincoln
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Incoming 7th Graders

  • A Children’s Homer: The Iliad and the Odyssey
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emma Orczy
  • Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
  • The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain