Summer is here! Vacations, sleeping in, lazy days in the sun, and, of course, summer reading! Here are several of our favorite books for your child—or you—to add to your summer reading list. But be warned that many of these books aren’t your typical beach reads. Rather, should you or your student choose to pick one of these novels or nonfiction reflections off this virtual shelf, you’ll find that it is just as intellectually stimulating as it is a pleasure and joy to read.
Whether your student didn’t have time to read everything they wanted to during the last two semesters or whether they are hoping to get a head start for the upcoming 2023-24 school year, we hope your student enjoys these reads this summer.
Fiction Books for Summer Reading
After a school year of reading to learn about subjects like math, science, and history, reading fiction during the summer can often be a much welcome break for your child. While many of the books in this list are recommended reading for Challenge students, you’re more than welcome to read them aloud to your younger students in the Foundations program!
The Chronicles of Narnia
Starting either with The Magician’s Nephew or The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, this series is an obvious addition to any summer reading list. Perhaps you can even take turns reading aloud passages from C. S. Lewis’s fantastic tales together as a family!
J. R. R. Tolkien’s prequel to The Lord of the Rings is a charming novel about bravery, adventure, and joy despite discomfort. Similar to the books in The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit makes for an entertaining read-aloud with the whole family.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
This Mark Twain classic about adventure on the Mississippi River is very characteristic of summer days. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer will make your student laugh, make them consider their own character, and may even make them run away, build a raft, and set sail on a nearby river. Which, if you are concerned about that latter possibility, perhaps think carefully before adding this adventure-inspiring book to your student’s summer reading list…
To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee’s beloved novel To Kill a Mockingbird brilliantly addresses important issues such as racial inequality while leaving room for humorous and tender-hearted moments. Whether it makes your summer reading list or not, you’ll want to make sure your student reads this American classic at some point in their homeschool education.
The Phantom Tollbooth
The Phantom Tollbooth is an instant classic for lovers of adventure, irony, and wordplay. Upon reading this clever novel, your student will be inspired to pursue knowledge, avoid jumping to conclusions, and realize the wonder of both letters and numbers.
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice is much more than a romance novel. It contains humor, familial conflict, social commentary, and of course, one of the most compelling love stories ever written.
Jane Eyre, another classic romance, is as much a coming-of-age story as it is a love story. As Jane grows up, she wrestles with psychological trauma, her desire for individualism, and morality.
Greco-Roman Epic Poems
For ambitious students looking to spend time by the pool or on the beach hunched over a Greek and Roman epic, you can’t go wrong with The Iliad, The Odyssey, or The Aeneid. If you are planning to assign your student one of these behemoths this fall, it’s especially a great idea for them to get started reading it now!
Nonfiction Books for Summer Reading
While the fictional stories above can certainly engage the intellect, sometimes there is no better way to understand an idea or concept than by reading nonfiction. The following brilliant reflections on life, society, and religion—although written years ago—are deeply relevant in our world today.
With more time during the hot days to ponder, consider adding the below books to your student’s summer reading list to ignite critical thinking and evaluation of modern life.
Walden, Or Life in the Woods
A perfect nonfiction read for the summer is Walden. Henry David Thoreau takes off to Walden Pond to live a simple life for two years. In this collection of essays, your student will find reflections on nature, self-reliance, simple-living, and what it means to live a good life.
Amusing Ourselves to Death
Published in the 1985, Amusing Ourselves to Death offers a concerning look at how the prevalent communication medium at the time, television, affected every aspect of society from politics to religion to education. Arguing that messages are influenced by the media through which they are communicated, this book by Neil Postman is perhaps even more relevant today than when it was published nearly 40 years ago.
Originally a series of radio broadcasts, Mere Christianity provides a rational apologetic for the Christian faith. When you’re not absorbed by his The Chronicles of Narnia, give this nonfiction masterpiece by C. S. Lewis a read!
Read-Alouds for This Summer
Looking for some books to read aloud with your younger students or with the whole family together, whether your students are in Foundations, Essentials, or Challenge? Consider one of these brand-new books from the Copper Lodge Library series by Classical Conversations!
Exploring the Heavens with Uncle Paul
Exploring the Heavens with Uncle Paul is the second of three books in our Uncle Paul Science Stories series of read-alouds designed to help homeschool families appreciate the wonders of God’s creation together. Cultivate a wonder of the night sky with your littlest learner this summer and go on adventures with “Uncle Paul” and his nieces and nephews.
Although Exploring the Heavens intentionally aligns with Cycle 2 of our Scribblers at Home resources, this book can just as well be used as a summer read-aloud this year with students of all ages!
Senators of Rome
Another sequel in a Classical Conversations trilogy, Senators of Rome is the latest installment of our Roman history series. This read-aloud guides parents and their students in the journey that began in Kings of Rome. Observe Western civilization unfold as you read these fascinating tales of ancient Rome out loud with your student (and be on the lookout for an introduction to some Latin vocabulary as well!).
Like Exploring the Heavens, Senators of Rome offers stories for each week to align with the Scribblers at Home Cycle 2 resources. But, there’s no reason not to enjoy these ancient tales this summer. So, consider adding this read-aloud to your family’s summer reading list!
A Summer Reading List to Engage the Mind
There you have it—our top picks to add to your summer reading list! While perhaps not your typical beach reads, these fiction, nonfiction, and read-aloud books will keep your student occupied, entertained, and intellectually engaged during this summer in 2023. After all, if your family is not homeschooling year-round, you should still find ways for your student to continue learning throughout the summer. So, we hope these reads help you in that endeavor!
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