The Horn Book posted its recommendations for some summer reading here: http://www.hbook.com/2014/05/choosing-books/recommended-books/2014-summer-reading-recommendations. I love the lists they provide, and I am pleased to see I have read most of them already (and the others went onto the TBR list). As the days wind down to summer break, I hope all of you are providing kids with some recommendations and also asking kids to add their own recommendations to the lists. Imagine taking the list for the intermediate fiction and nonfiction list (http://www.hbook.com/2014/05/choosing-books/recommended-books/2014-summer-reading-horn-book-intermediate-fiction-nonfiction) and sharing it with your students. Then, ask each of them to recommend 1-2 or more books they would add to this list. Compile their suggestions and publish that list some place where kids and parents can access it all summer long. Add some of your own recommendations as well. Since there are only 2 nonfiction books on this short list, I would ask your librarian for some more recommendations of the informational texts that might be of interest, too. Or ask your fifth graders to recommend some books for the 4th grade classes, books for younger readers.
I love the caveat Roger Sutton provides in the intro to the lists: "That does not, however, excuse the frequently dreadful list of recommended or — eep — required reading that schools shoot out as one last salvo of homework just as everybody is looking forward to a nice break." He concludes that summer reading should be as delicious as ice cream. I concur. So, no required books, please. Remember the one-size-fits-all fallacy. Instead, let kids pick freely. Let them set individual (and realistic) goals. Booktalk as many selections as you can to give them a personal introduction to the books, to help them make better choices. Share the lists with bookstores and public libraries, too.
Some final recommendations from yours truly:
1. add some older books to the list. Those titles will be more readily available in the public libraries. 2. have a range of genres, forms, and formats. 3. have some way for kids to report in over the summer (and maybe for you to do a little reminding about the need to read). 4. share with parents the importance of summer reading to help prevent the "summer slide." 5. read from the lists yourself.