Get your students excited for a joyful summer with these seven texts!
Students (and their teachers) are buzzing with excitement as they look toward a summer filled with sunny days and fun hobbies. Inspire your students to get involved in a variety of activities this summer with these seven engaging texts!
“Too Many Vegetables” by Karen DelleCava (3rd Grade)
In this heartwarming story, a young boy and his father realize that they grew way too many zucchini plants in their first vegetable garden. Patrick decides to give their neighbors the extras. The neighbors return the kind gesture by making their favorite zucchini dishes and they have a fun picnic with their creations.
After reading, inspire students to create their own gardens this summer by showing them “How To Make a Mini Vegetable Garden With Kids” under Related Media. After watching, encourage students to discuss the benefits of creating their own vegetable gardens.
“The View From Left Field” by Kelley Murphy (3rd Grade)
In this short story, Kylie is disappointed when she is assigned to left field during her softball game. She thinks that the position is going to be boring, but at the end of the game, a ball comes flying towards her! Kylie makes an important play and helps her team win the game.
This story provides a great opportunity for students to make text-to-self connections. Ask students Discussion Question 2, “What is your favorite sport? What do you like about it? Do you prefer watching sports or playing them?”
“The Challenge Game” by Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan (3rd Grade)
In this heartwarming story, Marta and her soccer teammates play a scrimmage to prepare for their big game. They pick Lina, the weakest player, to challenge them, but with each challenge she gets better and better. During the big game, Lina scores the winning goal.
As students read, have them follow the annotation task, which asks them to take notes on Marta’s feelings. Then, ask students to discuss how Marta’s feelings towards Lina change throughout the story.
“Reaching New Heights” by Marjorie Flintom (4th Grade)
Basketball is a beloved sport for many, and Charlie Villanueva, a professional basketball player, is trying to make the sport more accessible. This informational text describes Charlie’s struggle with a skin disease and how basketball helped him cope with challenges. Now, Charlie encourages kids suffering from the same disease to play basketball.
Consider assigning the Guiding Reading Mode as students read this text. The guiding questions will help students monitor their comprehension and understand how Charlie Villanueva is creating change in the sport of basketball.
“Fun and Games” by Kelsie Ingham (4th Grade)
Playing games is one of the best parts of summer, but students may not know that throughout American history, children have enjoyed a variety of games. This informational text describes different games that Native American children played and how these games inspired modern day sports, like lacrosse.
Consider pairing this text with “Play, Play Again” by Ellen Braaf to extend students’ learning about how animals and humans play to learn. After reading both texts, students can discuss what animals learn from their play. Ask students how this compares to what humans learn from playing sports and games.
“Sometimes a Dream Needs a Push” by Walter Dean Myers (5th Grade)
In this short story, Chris joins a wheelchair basketball team after a car accident has left him unable to walk. Chris’s dad, who blames himself for the accident, helps the team by showing them how to shoot better. Even though the team loses a big game, Chris is proud of their hard work and glad to have his dad’s support.
The complex relationship between Chris and his dad provides a great opportunity for analyzing character development and making connections. Ask students Discussion Question 3, “In the context of the text, what makes a family? What are some of the experiences you have had where the support of family and friends made a significant difference?” Encourage students to use examples from the text and their own lives to support their thinking.
“Into the Rapids” by Bradford H. Robie (5th Grade)
In this short story, Wyatt takes a terrifying tumble into the rapids on a rafting trip through the Colorado River. Wyatt is able to remain calm and get himself out of a dangerous situation by remembering his rafting guide’s instructions. The guide is impressed by Wyatt’s fortitude, and they continue their journey down the river.
This story is excellent for teaching students about following directions and staying calm when things go astray. Ask students Discussion Question 1, “When Wyatt falls into the river, he remains calm and collected. How is this a form of bravery? Describe a time when you were brave in a dangerous situation.” to further explore this concept.
Looking for more great texts for summer fun? Browse the CommonLit Library!
If you’re interested in learning all about CommonLit’s free digital literacy program for elementary students, join one of our upcoming webinars!