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Reading On the Road: A Summer Reading List for the Fifth Wheel

While most children still have the summers “off” from the traditional, regimented school schedule, that doesn’t mean time shouldn’t be spent furthering their education over the break. At the very least, summer vacationers should consider a summer reading list. It’s an easy way to keep the brain active even while spending family vacation time traveling in the fifth wheel.

When generating a summer reading list for the children prior to jumping in the fifth wheel recreational vehicle for summer vacation, consider the following: the child’s age, the child’s reading level, and the child’s preferences. It is important that the reading material is age appropriate as some books that are at a certain child’s reading level could introduce topics that are far above their current level of understanding. They could be introduced to disturbing or even frightening or offensive ideas that they aren’t ready to mentally digest. Considering a child’s personal preferences will increase the chances that they will be excited to tackle the books on the list and will make the job of the parent that much easier.

Summer Reading List for the Kids in the Fifth Wheel RV:

  1. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (Elementary through Middle School) – This extremely creative book can be described as a tribute to early French filmmaking and could be of interest to kids who are drawn to videography or digital art.
  2. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (Elementary through Middle School) – This is a poignantly beautiful tale about a toy’s journey back to the arms of “its child.”
  3. Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park (Elementary School) – Most will have their own favorite Junie B. book, but regardless of which book is chosen for the list Junie B. Jones is a character that is simply fun for most children to get to know. Her stories are full of wild antics and hilarious solutions.
  4. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (Preschool through high school, all ages) – A collection of modern poetry that provides the child’s (and the childish) imagination with sheer hilarity and rollicking verse full of spirit and a sense of sheer play.
  5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (Elementary through High School) – The Harry Potter series is well known for its ability to draw even reluctant readers in with the written word. While the stories are obviously “magical” they also provide an accessible representation of many of the mishaps, tragedies and conundrums that befall teens everyday. The well loved characters offer readers the chance to engage with difficult scenarios at a safe distance.
  6. The Princess Bride (Middle School through High School)  – Not only for when a child has the flu, the Princess Bride is a tale that will please not only the children in the fifth wheel, but the driver at the wheel in most cases. It’s highly recommended for reading aloud.
  7. Arabel’s Raven by Joan Aiken (Elementary School) – Hilarious and clever, this series of books is centered around a young British girl and her pet Raven, Mortimer. These books are what are often referred to as “quick reads” and can be enjoyed by all ages for the hilarious situations that Mortimer’s unusual appetites create.
  8. The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (Elementary School) – These cleverly worded stories allow for a multitude of images as readers go along with Harold on adventures that he creates using his “purple crayon” at bedtime. The adventures are perfect for reading aloud and are very well received by younger children who aren’t reading on their own yet.
  9. Savvy by Ingrid Law (Elementary through Middle School) – This is a coming of age story with a twist. Everyone in this particular family is blessed/cursed (depending on the perspective) with a special ability. Teenage characters dominate the book and parents can expect to have the book inspire interesting conversations that can offer opportunities to engage with children about their reading and how it applies to the world as they know it.
  10. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (Elementary School) – This is one of many fantastic stories provided to the youth by Roald Dahl. In this tale, the main character, James, is provides with an escape from a horrible life through the use of magic provided by a stranger. Regardless of the fact that a large part of the story is spent inside of a giant peach, the story hooks readers and keeps them excited about what’s coming.

These ten books are not the be all and end all of summer reading. In fact, they probably aren’t what would be teacher recommended, but they are a good sampling of books that will keep children excited about reading. Parents are encouraged to consider the options and generate their own custom reading lists for each child that caters to their specific needs and interests.

Don’t assume that the kids are going to be entertained because they are away from home. When planning the summer vacation consider what the kids will be doing in their down time in and out of the fifth wheel. The fifth wheel is the means by which the road magic can happen, but it isn’t going to keep the children from having nothing to eat while staring at a full pantry or being “bored” even while a wide range of never before seen sites and exciting recreational activities await right outside the door. It’s a part of childhood. Having a summer reading list ready and waiting in the fifth wheel this summer will avoid a lot of hassle.

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