Back to School Reading Tips + Book Recs

Book covers from a list of back-to-school books arranged on a white background

The start of school is right around the corner! A great way to get kids excited about school and motivated to learn is to make reading a fun and engaging habit. Here are a few tips and book recommendations to help get this school year off to a great start: 

Ease back into reading skills 

Even if a child has been reading all summer, it’s still possible to experience the “summer reading slide,” a common experience of kids forgetting some of the reading skills and techniques they learned in school. Kids usually pick up these skills again once they begin regular instruction, so don’t be alarmed if they seem to have forgotten what they knew last year. It’s okay to read for fun during the summer and ease back into more rigorous books during the school year! 

Have kids read aloud at their own pace 

As your child is getting back in the groove and building new reading skills, it’s great to read aloud to them and then gradually have them share the reading with you. This may look like “I’ll read one page, you read one sentence” at first. As their confidence grows they can begin reading more and more. The modeling you provide when you read aloud will help them ease into reading aloud more themselves!

Make reading a routine 

The best way to build strong, confident readers is to have them read every day, even just for a short time! Start up a regular reading routine, like reading before bed or after dinner. This could also include reading in a special spot that gets associated with reading time, which may help your child focus when it’s time to pull out a book. 

Be a good reading role model 

Families are a child’s first teachers! If your child sees you reading frequently, they’ll likely want to copy you and pull out a book of their own. Encourage family reading time when everyone reads a book together or independently. 

Ten Great Books to Read When School Starts

Below is a list of books about starting the school year! From finding the courage to face first-day nervousness, to the excitement of showing off a new outfit or what you did over the summer, these books are perfect for reading during the back-to-school transition! 

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

My First Day by Phùng Nguyên Quang and Huynh Kim Liên

The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer by Davide Calì

Sam’s Super Seats by Keah Brown

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold 

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi 

I’m New Here by Anne Sibley O’Brian

The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! By Mo Willems 

Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow