Summer is a vital time for students to keep up with their reading skills, and engaging read-alouds play a crucial role. As teachers, our influence extends beyond the classroom, and we have a responsibility to inspire a love for reading that carries into the summer months and beyond. 

Looking to add all these fantastic books to your classroom library? You can find them all conveniently located on our Amazon Idea List. Dive in to explore the books mentioned in this blog and more!


While we may not be with our students all summer, we can provide parents and summer school educators with resources to encourage reading. According to a report by the National Summer Learning Association, students can lose up to two months of reading skills over the summer. This summer learning loss can be mitigated, however, by regular reading practice.

This blog post is a curated collection of 22 read-alouds perfect for the summer months. Each book is set against the summer backdrop, with themes of beach fun, summer breaks, and much more. Included are suggested activities and discussion points that parents, summer school teachers, and even teachers preparing for back-to-school time can use to foster deeper engagement and learning. 


These books not only provide a fun and engaging reading experience, but they also present opportunities for rich discussions and activities that promote literacy skills, emotional intelligence, and creativity. So, whether these books are shared on a sunny afternoon in the backyard, during a summer school session, or as an exciting way to kick off the new school year, they inspire a love for reading and learning.

1. And Then Comes Summer by Tom Brenner

Kindergarten to Third Grade

And Then Comes Summer is a lively celebration of all things summer. The story's vivid descriptions and illustrations transport children into a world of warm sandy beaches, barbecues, lemonade stands, and firefly-filled evenings, truly encapsulating the season's magic.


TeacherGoals Tips

The book provides an excellent platform to discuss seasonal changes and the unique activities associated with summer.

  • Engage in sensory activities: Discuss the sights, sounds, and tastes of summer described in the book. Organize sensory activities, such as making lemonade or creating beach-themed crafts.
  • Encourage personal stories: Have students share their own summer experiences, thereby fostering connections between the book and their lives.

2. Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed

Kindergarten to Third Grade

This story unfolds around Bilal, who is excited to introduce his friends to his favorite South Asian dish, daal. The book is an appetizing mix of food, friendship, and a lovely summer afternoon.


TeacherGoals Tips

Bilal Cooks Daal is a fantastic story that can be used to explore cultural diversity and inclusivity through the lens of food and friendship.

  • Reading comprehension: After reading the story, ask students questions about the characters, plot, and themes to ensure comprehension and engagement.
  • Art activity: Have students draw their favorite scene from the book or create their own version of a recipe they would like to share with their friends.

3. The Night Is Yours by Abdul-Razak Zachariah

Preschool to Second Grade

Set in the heart of a lively summer neighborhood, The Night Is Yours is a touching ode to self-confidence, urban summer, and the joy of nighttime play. The book’s illustrations and lyrical narrative perfectly capture the vibrant energy of a summer night.


TeacherGoals Tips

This book is a beautiful reminder of the power of self-belief and the importance of community.

  • Role-play activities: Let children role-play different scenarios from the book. It will deepen their understanding of the narrative and characters.
  • Writing exercise: Encourage students to write about what they enjoy most about summer nights, stimulating their creativity and enhancing their writing skills.

4. Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Preschool to Second Grade

Jabari Jumps is a sweet tale of bravery and determination. It follows Jabari as he gathers the courage to jump off the diving board at the public pool.


TeacherGoals Tips

Jabari Jumps is a fantastic book to discuss themes of courage, determination, and overcoming fears.

  • Storytelling and drawing:  After discussing their personal experiences, invite students to draw a picture of a time when they were brave, promoting self-expression and enhancing their understanding of the story.
  • Encourage physical activity:  If safe and possible, organize a jumping or diving activity where students can face their fears just like Jabari. 

5. Fireflies by Julie Brinckloe

First Grade to Fourth Grade

Fireflies is a heartwarming tale of a young boy's joyous summer evening chasing and catching fireflies. The story wonderfully captures the essence of a simple yet magical childhood summer experience.

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TeacherGoals Tips

Fireflies is a great tool to teach children about nature and the importance of kindness towards all living creatures.

  • Observation and discussion: Have a discussion about the life cycle of fireflies. If possible, organize an evening outing to observe fireflies.
  • Create firefly crafts: Encourage children to create their own firefly crafts using glow-in-the-dark materials. This reinforces the concept while boosting their creativity.

6. The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli

Preschool to Second Grade

The Watermelon Seed is a hilarious, award-winning book that follows a watermelon-loving crocodile who accidentally swallows a seed, causing a comical overreaction.


TeacherGoals Tips

The book offers a fun way to address children's fears and anxieties.

  • Discussion: Explore the crocodile's feelings and reactions. Discuss how, sometimes, fears can be bigger in our minds than in reality.
  • Taste testing: Bring in watermelon for students to taste. They could even spit out the seeds to connect with the story.

7. Ice Cream Summer by Peter Sís

Kindergarten to Third Grade

Ice Cream Summer is a deliciously entertaining story about a boy who loves ice cream and learns a whole lot during his ice cream-filled summer vacation.


TeacherGoals Tips

This book subtly combines fun with learning as the protagonist explores history, math, and even languages - all with an ice cream theme.

  • Theme day: Organize an ice cream-themed day with activities ranging from math problems to art projects.
  • Ice cream fun: If possible, arrange for an ice cream tasting. Discuss flavors, textures, and the science of how ice cream is made.

8. Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Seventh Grade and Up

This engaging tale follows the journey of five sisters who find a dead man's body while swimming in the Rio Grande. Their subsequent journey to return him to his family, inspired by The Odyssey, is filled with Mexican folklore and magical realism.


TeacherGoals Tips

This book is a vibrant blend of cultural exploration, family bonds, and personal growth.

  • Comparative discussion: Compare the journey of the five sisters to the journey in The Odyssey. Discuss how the themes of heroism, adventure, and personal growth appear in both tales.
  • Mexican folklore exploration: The book is rich in Mexican folklore. Research and discuss the folklore elements present in the book.
  • Character study: Have students choose one of the five sisters and write an essay about their character development throughout the book.

9. Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee

First Grade to Fourth Grade

This charming story follows two boys, Eamon and James, who spend a week at Eamon's grandparents' house for "Nature Camp." They experience the joys of friendship and the wonders of nature.


TeacherGoals Tips

A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever is a fantastic exploration of friendship, outdoor exploration, and an appreciation for nature.

  • Discussion on friendship and nature: Start a discussion about the friendship between Eamon and James and their adventures in nature. Ask students to share their own stories of friendship and outdoor exploration.
  • Summer journaling: Encourage students to journal their summer activities, mirroring the boys in the story. This exercise can promote self-reflection and improve writing skills.

10. Summer Days and Nights by Wong Herbert Yee

Preschool to First Grade

Summer Days and Nights is a delightful journey through a little girl's mixed adventures during a hot summer day and night, from chasing butterflies to stargazing.


TeacherGoals Tips

Summer Days and Nights is a wonderful exploration of curiosity, imagination, and the simple pleasures of summer.

  • Discussion on summer activities: Initiate a discussion about the different activities the girl does during her day and night. Ask students what they enjoy doing during their summer days and nights.
  • Creative writing or drawing: Invite children to write about or draw a picture of their favorite summer day or night scene. This activity promotes creativity, enhances writing skills, and helps children connect their experiences with the story.
  • Nature exploration: Encourage students to explore the natural world around them during summer, similar to the little girl in the story.

11. There Might Be Lobsters by Carolyn Crimi

Preschool to Second Grade

This story is about a small dog with a big fear - of everything, including lobsters. A trip to the beach becomes an adventure as the little dog learns to face her fears.


TeacherGoals Tips

There Might Be Lobsters provides a gentle and relatable way to discuss fears and the bravery required to conquer them.

  • Artistic expression: Encourage students to draw a picture of a time they were afraid and how they overcame that fear, promoting self-expression and a deeper understanding of the book's theme.
  • Emotion recognition: Use this story as an opportunity to delve into a deeper conversation about feelings and emotions, teaching students how to identify and cope with fear and anxiety.

12. Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña

Kindergarten to Second Grade

This award-winning book follows a young boy, CJ, and his grandmother as they take a bus ride after church on a sunny summer afternoon. Their journey illuminates the beauty in the world around them.


TeacherGoals Tips

This book presents an opportunity to discuss diversity, gratitude, and finding beauty in everyday life.

  • Drawing: Ask students to draw or paint their own cityscapes, emphasizing the diversity and beauty they see.
  • Gratitude: Encourage students to share things they are grateful for, inspired by the positive perspective of CJ's grandmother.

13. Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic by Ginnie Lo

First Grade to Fourth Grade

Based on a true story, this book recounts a Chinese-American family's discovery of a soybean field in Illinois. This leads to an annual "Soybean Picnic," showcasing the blending of their cultural heritage with their new American life.


TeacherGoals Tips

Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic is a wonderful tool for discussing cultural heritage, immigration, and the value of traditions.

  • Discussion on heritage and traditions: Initiate a discussion about the family's tradition of the Soybean Picnic and how it helps them connect with their cultural roots. Invite students to share their own family traditions and what they signify.
  • Geography Lesson: Use this opportunity to introduce students to the geographical location of Illinois and China and discuss how agriculture differs between these places.
  • Culinary Activity: If possible, organize a small 'culinary festival' where students can bring and share a dish from their own cultural background, promoting a sense of inclusivity and appreciation for diverse cultures.

14. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Fourth Grade to Seventh Grade

This poignant and humorous novel follows three sisters traveling to Oakland, California, in 1968 to meet their estranged mother. The girls learn about the Black Panther movement and their mother's involvement during their unforgettable summer.


TeacherGoals Tips

The book offers insightful discussions about family dynamics, civil rights history, and personal growth.

  • Discussion: Discuss the historical context of the book and the significance of the Black Panther movement.
  • Writing Activity: Encourage students to write a short story about an unforgettable summer of their own.

15. Surfer Chick by Kristy Dempsey

Preschool to Second Grade

This is an uplifting story of a little chick and her dad who share a day of surfing and life lessons. The tale encourages perseverance, bravery, and the joy of sharing something you love with someone you love.


TeacherGoals Tips

Use this book to introduce discussions about trying new things, perseverance, and parent-child relationships.

  • Role-play: Have students role-play scenes from the book, helping them understand the characters' feelings and actions.
  • Drawing Activity: Ask students to draw their favorite summer activity with their family or friends.

16. Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach by James Dean

Preschool to First Grade

In this book, Pete the Cat visits the beach with his family. He's still deciding about the water, but with a little encouragement from his parents, Pete learns to surf!


TeacherGoals Tips

Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach is a fun and engaging read that tackles overcoming fears and trying out new experiences.

  • Discussion on fears: Initiate a discussion on the things that Pete was afraid of and how he overcame his fears. Ask students to share their own fears and discuss strategies for overcoming them.
  • Role-play: Encourage role-playing where children act out different scenes from the book, such as Pete learning to surf. This can help students empathize with Pete's initial fear and eventual triumph.
  • Craft activity: Guide students in creating a beach-themed craft, perhaps a small surfboard like Pete's or a scene from the story.

17. Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles

First Grade to Fourth Grade

This powerful book tells the story of two boys, one white and one black, in the summer of 1964 — the Freedom Summer. It's an excellent resource for discussions on friendship, racial equality, and civil rights.


TeacherGoals Tips

Freedom Summer offers a valuable opportunity to introduce younger students to important themes of friendship, racial equality, and historical moments in the civil rights movement.

  • Discussion on friendship: Discuss the friendship between the two main characters. How do they support each other? What challenges do they face due to societal norms of their time?
  • Role-playing: Organize role-playing activities where students act out scenes from the book to foster a deeper understanding of the characters and their experiences.
  • Reflection activity: Invite students to write or draw about a time when they stood up for a friend or were brave in a difficult situation, connecting their personal experiences with the themes in the book.

18. Sea, Sand, Me! by Patricia Hubbell

Preschool to First Grade

This is a simple, charming story about a girl's day at the beach, filled with all the things she loves: collecting shells, building sandcastles, and watching the blue sea.


TeacherGoals Tips

Sea, Sand, Me! is a delightful book to stimulate young children's curiosity about beach activities and the natural world.

  • Exploration of beach activities: Discuss the various activities the little girl enjoys at the beach. Ask students about their favorite beach activities and what they love about them.
  • Sensory activity: Bring different beach-related materials like sand, shells, and pebbles into the classroom or encourage parents to do so at home. Have students explore these materials with their hands to stimulate their sensory skills.
  • Craft activity: Guide students in creating a beach-themed craft, such as a paper plate beach scene or a handprint sandcastle.

19. The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant

Preschool to Third Grade

This warm, joyful book tells the story of a big, loud, loving family visiting for the summer. The book is full of laughter, shared memories, and the comfort of being surrounded by those who love you most.


TeacherGoals Tips

The Relatives Came beautifully encapsulates the joy and love of family reunions and offers excellent opportunities to discuss family traditions and bonds.

  • Discussion: Initiate a conversation about the student's own family gatherings. What are some traditions they have? How do they feel when their relatives visit?
  • Family tree activity: To connect more deeply with the theme of family, introduce a family tree project where students can learn more about their relatives and family history.
  • Storytelling session: Encourage students to share fun and exciting stories about their own family visits or get-togethers. This not only promotes public speaking skills but also fosters a sense of community in the classroom.
  • Art project: Have students draw a picture of a memorable family gathering they've experienced. These drawings can be shared with the class or at home with their families, rekindling the warm feelings associated with these cherished memories.

20. Round Trip by Ann Jonas

Second Grade to Fifth Grade

This uniquely designed book tells the story of a day-long summer journey from country to city and back again, using black and white graphics that can be viewed upside down as well as right-side up.


TeacherGoals Tips

Round Trip is a visually engaging book encouraging children's imagination, creativity, and observation skills.

  • Artistic observation: After reading, encourage students to discuss what they observed when the book's graphics were viewed upside down versus right-side up. How did their perspective change?
  • Creative art project: Invite students to create their own drawings that can be interpreted in two ways when flipped upside down, just like in the book.
  • City vs. Country: Initiate a discussion about the differences between living in the city and the country, using the book as a starting point.

21. Beach Day by Karen Roosa

Preschool to Second Grade

In this beautifully illustrated book, a group of children spend a day enjoying all the beach has to offer - from the warm sun to the rolling waves.


TeacherGoals Tips

Beach Day provides an opportunity to introduce young children to the many activities that can be enjoyed at the beach, promoting an appreciation for outdoor play and nature exploration.

  • Discussion: After reading, have a conversation about the different activities the children do at the beach. Ask students to share their own experiences and favorite beach or summer activities.
  • Role-play: Using props and costumes, students can role-play a day at the beach, recreating scenes from the book.
  • Show and Tell: Invite students to bring a beach-related item and talk about it. This could be a shell they've collected, a picture of them at the beach, or a favorite beach toy.

22. How to (Almost) Ruin Your Summer by Taryn Souders

Third Grade to Seventh Grade

How to (Almost) Ruin Your Summer is a hilarious tale of a girl's crazy summer camp experiences, filled with entrepreneurial ventures, friendships, and plenty of hijinks.


TeacherGoals Tips

This book offers a fun way to explore themes of entrepreneurship, problem-solving, and making the best of unexpected situations.

  • Business plan project: Have students come up with their own simple business plans, similar to the protagonist in the story.
  • Personal reflection: Encourage students to share stories of a time they made the best out of a tricky or disappointing situation.

Harnessing the Power of Summer Reading with Exciting Read-Alouds

The importance of summer reading cannot be overstated. Not only does it keep students engaged and their minds active during the break, but it also significantly contributes to their literacy skills.

The selected read-alouds in this blog post are sure to capture the imagination of your students while subtly reinforcing important life lessons.

As you navigate through summer, we encourage you to explore these books and employ the suggested activities. They will not only make reading enjoyable but will also create deeper connections with the stories.

We invite teachers to share their experiences using these books and tips in their classrooms. Your stories will inspire and guide other educators on this wonderful journey of using read-alouds for a fun and educational summer. Happy summer reading!

**This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.

What are your favorite summer read-alouds? Share in the comments.

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22 Exciting Read-Alouds for a Fun and Educational Summer was authored by:
Alaina Clark-Weinstein

Alaina Clark-Weinstein is the Chief Operations Officer at TeacherGoals. Alaina joined TeacherGoals in 2020 and has been an integral part of advancing the organization and spearheading new initiatives. Alaina oversees the day-to-day tasks and operational functions of TeacherGoals.

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