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December 21, 2014

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Help your children stay on top with summer reading

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It’s called the “summer slide,” but you won’t find it on a playground or in a water park. Studies have found that children who don’t read over summer typically fall up to three months behind their peers. By the summer after fifth grade, many students have fallen more than two years behind in reading.

Many children don’t read enough during summer because they can’t find books that interest them, Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction Dale Erquiaga said. That’s a problem, because research shows that children who read over the summer are more likely to retain their literacy skills than those who don’t.

To prevent the slide, the Clark County School District provides a recommended summer reading list for students. Teachers’ recommendations for this summer:

Early elementary school (ages 5 to 8)

• "Blackout," by John Rocco: Find out what happens when a summer blackout wipes out power to a neighborhood. Instead of grumbling about not being able to use the computer, a boy discovers people can have just as much fun without electricity — talking, rollerblading and playing board games.

• "Migrant," by Maxine Trottier: An award-winning illustrated book about what it is like to be a child growing up in a migrant family, traveling from Mexico to Canada to work on farms.

• "Tia Isa Wants a Car," by Meg Medina: A girl works odd jobs for neighbors to help her aunt buy a car so she can take the family to the beach.

Late elementary school (ages 8 to 11)

• "Inside Out and Back Again," by Thanhha Lai: The story of a 10-year-old refugee girl’s move from Vietnam to Alabama in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.

• "Junonia," by Kevin Henkes: Every year, Alice and her family travel to an island off the Florida coast to celebrate her birthday. This year, however, people have left the island and newcomers have arrived, upsetting the girl who wants the island to remain the same.

• "Wonderstruck," by Brian Selznick: Two children set out on a soul-searching journey. A boy searches for the father he never knew, while a girl longs for more information about a mysterious actress.

Middle school (ages 11 to 14)

• "When You Reach Me," by Rebecca Stead: A 2010 Newbery Medal-winning novel about a sixth-grade girl who finds mysterious notes that lead her to believe she can prevent her friend’s death.

• "Return to Sender," by Julia Alvarez: A boy’s father is injured in a tractor accident, forcing his family to hire migrant workers from Mexico to keep their Vermont farm afloat. The boy befriends one of the worker's daughters, who shares her culture with him.

• "Drawing from Memory," by Allen Say: A graphic memoir about the Caldecott Medalist’s relationship with his mentor during an apprenticeship with a leading Japanese cartoonist.

High school (ages 14 to 18)

• "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," by Mark Twain: The famous story of a boy growing up in a small town near the Mississippi River, playing hooky from school and having the adventure of his lifetime.

• "Slaughterhouse Five," by Kurt Vonnegut: Billy Pilgrim travels through time, searching for life’s meaning amid war.

• "The Fault in Our Stars," by John Green: A coming-of-age novel about a 16-year-old cancer patient who meets and falls in love with a boy in her cancer support group. A movie version of the book is in theaters now.

For adults

Don’t forget about mom and dad. There are lots of great reads out there for them, too. Some titles to choose from:

• "Gone Girl," by Gillian Flynn: A dark thriller by a New York Times best-selling author about a wife who goes missing in a small Midwest town and her husband who becomes the prime suspect in her disappearance.

• "The Last Magazine," by Michael Hastings: The first and last novel by war correspondent Michael Hastings, who died last year in a car crash. Hastings, who took down Gen. Stanley McChrystal in a Rolling Stone profile, captures the decline of traditional news magazines in this posthumous novel.

• "The Book Thief," by Markus Zusak: A New York Times best seller about a young girl whose Communist mother is taken away by Nazis. She befriends a young Jewish man, with whom she shares and reads her stolen book collection during bombing raids.

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