Books to keep up reading over the summer

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We’ve gathered together a selection of summer reading recommendations to keep children of all ages reading for pleasure throughout the holidays. You’ll also find lots of top tips to share with parents to support them with helping their children to establish a reading habit that lasts well beyond the summer. 

Picture books 

Stella and the Seagull cover

Stella and the Seagull
Written by Georgina Stevens and illustrated by Izzy Burton
Age 2+

When Stella’s seagull friend gets poorly from the plastic stuck in its tummy, Stella wants to do anything she can to try and help. From beach clean ups to banning plastic straws, her inspirational ideas spread around the community and make a huge impact. Share this empowering story that packs an important environmental message.

Buy Stella and the Seagull on Amazon.

More seaside-themed picture book recommendations:

  • Noah’s Seal by Layn Marlow (Age 2+) – a sun-splashed multigenerational story that blurs the boundaries of the real and imagined.
  • The Pirate Mums written by Jodie Lancet-Grant and illustrated by Lydia Corry (Age 2+) – set sail on a swashbuckling adventure that celebrates LGBTQ+ families. 

Top tips to share with parents: Brilliant picture books: 22 beautiful books for children under 5

Phonics readers 

Beth's Chip Shop cover

Beth’s Chip Shop
Read Write Inc. Phonics Book Bag Books
Read Write Inc.
 Green Level (Reception–Year 1/P1–2)

No visit to the seaside is complete without a tasty trip to the chip shop! Children can visit Beth’s in this Read Write Inc. Phonics Book Bag Book, specially designed to be taken home for reading practice outside the classroom. It includes supportive notes for parents and carers, as well as pre-reading activities and a vocabulary check. 

Find out more about Read Write Inc. Phonics Book Bag Books or take a look at the Read Write Inc. Phonics Book Bag Books Green Set 1 Storybooks Pack.

More phonically-decodable summer adventures:

  • Project X Alien Adventures – fully-decodable space adventures specially developed to motivate boys and address the gender gap in literacy. Our favourite for the summer is The Seagull (Oxford Level 5, Reception–Year 2/P1–3). 

Top tips to share with parents: A parent guide to learning to read with phonics

Chapter books 

Willow Wildthing and the Magic Spell cover

Willow Wildthing and the Magic Spell
Written by Gill Lewis and illustrated by Rebecca Bagley
Age 7+

Come into the Wilderness, where magic and nature collide and join Willow Wildthing on her latest adventure to save the Wild Things’ home from destruction. Perfect for Enid Blyton fans who love stories full of adventure and intrigue, this is a great book for hooking in children who are easily distracted.

Take a look at the Willow Wildthing series or pre-order Willow Wildthing and the Magic Spell on Amazon

More imagination-sparking chapter books to engage junior readers: 

  • The Sand Witch (Read with Oxford Stage 5, Age 5–7) – can Drusilla come up with a good spell to get rid of her unwanted holiday visitor? Like all of the carefully-levelled books in the Read with Oxford series, this book includes tips and activities to help parents build their children’s reading confidence at home.
  • Leo’s Map of Monsters written by Kris Humphrey and illustrated by Pete Williamson (Age 7+) – enter an epic fantasy world that brings movie-style adventure to emerging readers.

Top tips to share with parents: Developing reading skills as your child gets older


Season Swap cover

Season Swap
Oxford Reading Tree inFact
Oxford Level 7 (Year 2/P3)

It’s always summer somewhere in the world! This book looks at how our position in relation to the sun changes throughout the year, in contrast to people living in a different hemisphere. Its colourful pages and personal accounts do a brilliant job of engaging children in reading non-fiction for pleasure. 

Take a look at the whole Oxford Reading Tree inFact Level 7 pack or buy Season Swap on Amazon


This book is also available as part of the Oxford Owl eBook Library subscription.

More fact-filled non-fiction: 

  • A Cool Summer (Floppy’s Phonics Non-fiction, Oxford Level 3, Reception/P1) – children can practise their decoding skills while they find out how to stay cool this summer, complete with inside cover notes to support parents. 
  • Hero Academy Non-fiction (Oxford Levels 1–6, Reception–Year 1/P1–2) – a brand-new series of decodable non-fiction about real life heroes that celebrates key workers and their important role in society. Available for pre-order now. 

Top tips to share with parents: Four top tips for getting the most out of non-fiction

Thought-provoking novels for KS2 and beyond

Dark Peak cover

Dark Peak
Super Readable Rollercoasters
Written by Marcus Sedgewick
Age 11+

One long, hot summer, two children disappear on a school trip. One child is eventually found, but Porter is worried that no one is even looking for the other, Stephen, anymore. Why can no one remember who Stephen is? What happened on the school trip? A gripping tale to challenge your most confident readers that they just won’t be able to put down!

Find out more about Super-Readable Rollercoasters or buy Dark Peak on Amazon.

More recommendations for challenging fiction: 

  • TreeTops Classics (Oxford Levels 15–17, Year 4–5/P5–6) – adapted by top children’s authors to give children an accessible route into our rich literary heritage. Try Oliver Twist, Black Beauty, Macbeth, Wuthering Heights and more to enrich and extend their reading experiences this summer.
  • TreeTops Reflect (Oxford Levels 16–20, Year 5–6/P6–7) – use the power of fiction to help children connect to diverse experiences, with stories that are guaranteed to get them thinking! Our holiday-themed favourite is Holiday of a Lifetime (Oxford Level 18, Year 6/P7).

Top tips to share with parents: Establishing a reading habit for the summer holidays and beyond

With all those riveting recommendations, your book bags are probably fit to burst, but if you’re looking for even more summer ideas and activities to share with parents and children, Oxford Owl for Home is jam-packed with inspiration! Or why not try out the Oxford BookMatch tool to create tailored lists for your readers? 

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One thought on “Books to keep up reading over the summer

  1. It is a very useful and interesting article! Thank you so much for the valuable list of books given in your article!

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