Summer reading

Great Books for Your Kids’ Summer Reading Lists

To help prevent ‘summer slide’ with students, daily reading activities are important this time of year. Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom supports the iREAD effort that is hosted at many community libraries. This year the theme is “Find Your Voice.” We’ve paired some of our favorite books with easy-to-complete activities from our website for you. Consider reading these books and engaging in the following activities with your children this summer.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (ISBN: 978-08037351180) by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer.  Follow the adventure of William as he builds a windmill from scrap metal to generate electricity to provide water for his family and community. Learn about wind with our “A Windy Lift” Activity.

The Water Lady (ISBN: 978-0525645009) by Alice McGinty. Illinois author Alice McGinty tells the story of Darlene Arviso who brings water to families on a Navajo reservation every day. Learn how important water is with our “Water Cycle in a Bag” Activity.

Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer (ISBN 978-0374384401) by Carol Brendler. Illinois author Carol Brendler highlights worm-crazy Winnie Finn as she works to complete a project for the county fair!  This book pairs well with our “Vermicomposting” Activity.

Try It!  How Frieda Caplan Changed the Way We Eat (ISBN: 978-1534460072) by Mara Rockiff. Meet Frieda Caplan, the produce promoter who introduced so many fruits and vegetables into our kitchens by first getting them into grocery stores! Want more unique opportunities to try new foods? Try your local Farmers Market. Check out our Farmers Market Scavenger Hunt.

Butterflies Belong Here (ISBN: 978-1452176802) by Deborah Hopkinson. A young immigrant girl assists in building a pollinator garden to help migrating monarchs. Equal parts environment outside and inside the school. Create your own habitat with our “Throw and Grow” Activity.

Seed by Seed (ISBN: 978-0061455155) by Esme Raji Codell. There is so much more to Johnny Appleseed than just planting trees. Learn more about apples and the seasons of growth with our “Apple Blossom Tree” Activity.

In the Garden with Dr. Carver (ISBN: 978-0807536476) by Susan Grigsby. An introduction to Dr. George Washington Carver from the perspective of a child watching him interact with adults. Carver knew the soil was important to all living things. Check out seed germination and how things grow with our “Soil Sam” Activity.

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures (ISBN: 978-1943147618) by Julia Finley Mosca. This is a fascinating look at Dr. Temple Grandin, who has made groundbreaking improvements for farms and livestock around the world. Check out our math activity and discuss perimeter and area with “Plot-a-Lot”.

Upper level students might enjoy reading The Year Money Grew on Trees (ISBN: 978-0547577166) by Aaron Hawkins that features all things apples, The Thing About Luck (ISBN: 978-1442474659) by Illinois author Cynthia Kadohata, which focuses on wheat, or Pumpkinheads (ISBN: 978-1626721623) by Rainbow Rowell, an excellent graphic novel about agritourism and pumpkins!

Visit your local library to find these and many more outstanding books and help your student find their voice in agriculture!

Kevin Daugherty

About Kevin

Kevin Daugherty is the Education Director for the Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom Program.

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