Dive into Imagination! 21 Summer Reading Book Lists for Early Elementary Kids (Ages 6-9)

Written by Michelle Watson

May 21, 2023

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I’ve handpicked 21 summer reading book lists for early elementary kids that will help them plunge into a literary adventure—without overtaxing their budding reading skills. 

For many kids at this age, reading is still HARD. Emerging readers are learning the basics of how to decode. They’re building fluency. Comprehension is patchy. Reading is like a wrestling match—fun but kinda exhausting.

Even though they’re not seasoned bookworms (yet), we still want them to know what it feels like to open a book and step into another world, with characters and stories that’ll have them eagerly turning the pages to see what happens next.

BONUS: This is a list of lists—great lists!—but I’ve ALSO included a gallery of my own personal favorite summer reading books for early elementary at the bottom of this post, so don’t miss it!

18 Summer Reading Book Lists for Early Elementary Kids

The recommendations that you’ll find on these summer reading book lists are geared specifically for this group of young readers.

I haven’t read every book on all of these lists—that would require superpowers. But I have made an effort to include lists by people who I feel are trustworthy and have a heart for kids. Naturally, I can’t endorse every book that appears on these lists, and I encourage you to vet any titles (especially those published recently) if you have any concerns—it only takes a few minutes! Focus on the Family’s PluggedIn Books Reviews is a great place to do this.

Scroll to the bottom for my own list of early elementary book recommendations—books that I’ve personally read.

Now, let’s dive in!

Summer Book List for Beginning Readers

By Erica at What We Do All Day

The Best Emergent Readers for Phonics

By Jamie at the Unlikely Homeschooler

The Ultimate Book List For 1st Grade

By Jessica at The Waldock Way

1st Grade Summer Reading List (Books for Ages 6-7)

By Erica at What We Do All Day

Early Readers

By Sarah MacKenzie at the Read-Aloud Revival

A 2nd Grade Book List That Will Delight Your Child

By Jessica at The Waldock Way

2nd Grade Summer Book List (Books for Ages 6-8)

By Erica at What We Do All Day

Series for Developing Readers

By Sarah MacKenzie at the Read-Aloud Revival

40 Awesome Books Your Third Grader Will Love

By Jessica at The Waldock Way

3rd Grade Summer Reading List (Ages 8-9)

By Erica at What We Do All Day

Ultimate Guide to 5-Star Books for 1st and 2nd Grade Students by Reading Level

By Kathy at Cornerstone Confessions

The Best Early Readers for Kids (Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3)

By Afoma at Reading Middle Grade

Summer Reading: A Grade-by-Grade Recommended Reading List for Kids

By Children’s Educational Services (a school)

Check out the lists for first through third grade. Note: “Outside Reading” means books that kids can read on their own (versus books the “teacher” reads aloud). 

Graphic Novels for Beginning Readers

By Sarah MacKenzie at the Read-Aloud Revival

20 must-read chapter books for young boys

By Jamie at the Unlikely Homeschooler

20 Books for 2nd-4th grade girls

By Jamie at the Unlikely Homeschooler

Books for Beginning Readers

A List Compiled by Jessie Wise for The Well-Trained Mind

This is divided into ability levels versus grade levels—very helpful!

25 Excellent Early Reader Books

By Janssen at Everyday Reading

3 Early Elementary Summer Book Lists (That May Require a Parent’s Help)

Young kids likely won’t be able to read these books on their own, but there are some great recommendations here for read-alouds and activity books.

Summer Fun Booklist: Full of Activities and Things to Do!

By Betsy at Redeemed Reader

This is a fun list of activity books for summer fun (joke books, craft books, nature books, etc.)

25 Sneaky Summer Learning Library Books

By Cindy at Our Journey Westward

The Ultimate Summer Reading List For Elementary Students 2023

By Shawna Wingert for Sonlight 

Sonlight asked parents for their favorite summer books and series. These are a mix of books for all elementary grades, and some are more suited to read-alouds.

Michelle’s Summer Reading Books for Early Elementary Students

Here are books that I think are particularly suited to both summer AND kids who are just starting out on their reading journey. I’ve personally read all of these and handed many of them to my own boys.

In many instances, I couldn’t find an image of an entire book series, so I went ahead and chose one book cover to represent that series or collection of books.

What are your early elementary kids reading this summer?

What great books or book lists am I missing? Leave me a comment with your favorites!

Get Free Summer Reading Challenge Printables

Here’s a FUN and FLEXIBLE way to read with your family this summer. Printable reading trackers, challenge grids, reward ideas, and book lists. And, it’s free.

Or skip straight to signing up below! 👇

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