How’s your child’s summer reading coming along? Let us help. 


Students discuss their reading at STRIVE Collegiate Academy.

Students discuss their reading at STRIVE Collegiate Academy.

School supplies are showing up on the store shelves. You’ve marked the Sales Tax Holiday on your calendar. (Or if you haven’t, do it now—it’s coming up the weekend of Friday, July 26 through Sunday, July 28.) 

But wait! Summer isn’t over yet! 

We still have two full weeks to soak in the sun and most importantly, some more summer reading. If your reading list is running low, below is a list of must-read recommendations from literacy experts at Nashville’s public charter schools to help you out. 

Everyone pushes it, but why is summer reading so important? For one, it helps curb summer learning loss, which is a real thing. One study concluded that the average student loses one month’s worth of school-year learning during the summer and that income-based reading gaps tend to grow over the summer. 

In general, a year-round daily reading habit is important to maintain, even after your child is beyond the learning-to-read stage of their education. There are many benefits to having your child or teen read a book of interest to them for at least 20 minutes per day. It exposes them to new ideas and cultures beyond their own daily life. And it broadens their vocabulary—a student who reads 20 minutes per day will be exposed to roughly 1.8 million words each year! 

But don’t make it a chore. Let your child or teen pick books that appeal to them to help instill a life-long love of reading. Maybe one of these:  

“Just Juice” by Karen Hesse

Best for grades 3-4

Reading this contemporary realistic fiction story gives students a juicy topic to debate: illiteracy. Students can explore what causes illiteracy and how the cycle of illiteracy can be broken.  

Recommendation from Katherine Nelligan, Content Specialist at Purpose Prep

“Amulet Series” by Kazu Kibuishi

Best for grades 4-8

This book is about a young girl and her trials and tribulations while looking for her mother. The book is an eight series graphic novel series. The characters, the ships, places the crew visits keeps readers wanting more. 

Recommendation from Carlyn Chrislu, Writing Teacher/Librarian at Valor Collegiate Academies 

“Rules” by Cynthia Lord

Best for grades 5-7

Through the narrator’s relationship with her younger brother with autism, this book inspires readers to consider life from others’ points of view. 

Recommendation from Megan Morgalis, Director of Literacy at KIPP Nashville

“Bud not Buddy” by Christopher Paul Curtis

Best for grades 5-8

The book chronicles the story of a 10-year-old African American boy on a quest to find his father during the Great Depression. 

Recommendation from Shauna Carter, an 8th grade ELA teacher at STRIVE Collegiate Academy

“The Crossover” by Kwame Alexander

Best for grades 5-8

This verse novel is about twin brothers who love basketball and have to navigate the struggles on middle school and coming of age.

Recommendation from Shauna Carter, an 8th grade ELA teacher at STRIVE Collegiate Academy

“Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice” by Philip Hoose

Best for grades 5-8 

An impassioned teenager that is fed up with the injustices of Jim Crow segregation refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white woman sparks debate in Montgomery, Alabama. 

Recommendation from Shauna Carter, an 8th grade ELA teacher at STRIVE Collegiate Academy


Kelli Gauthier