Ottumwa Public Library

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OTTUMWA — Teachers have long known that summer is tough on students’ skills, particularly things like reading. It doesn’t necessarily take a lot to keep those skills sharp, but many parents might not know where to start.

That’s where the ALSC, the Association for Library Service to Children, can help. The organization has a set of 2019 summer reading lists on its website, broken down for children’s ages.

The lists focus on books parents and students might have overlooked, offering a break from well-read favorites like Dr. Seuss. And any parent who has ever had a child ask to have a favorite book read over and over (and over) knows how welcome finding a new book can be.

Some of the books may even help find new activities. “The Slime Book,” found on the list for students in kindergarten through second grade, helps teach with 30 do-it-yourself slime recipes. Another book on the list is “Hidden Figures: The true Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race,” a story recently told on film.

The “Hidden Figures” story shows up on other lists as well, with events told with different levels of reading skill for different readers. By the time readers are ready for the list suggested for students in grades six through eight, titles range from coming of age stories to science fiction.

All of the lists are available at http://www.ala.org/alsc/publications-resources/book-lists/2019-summer-reading-list. Each one is a pdf, so parents can print them off at home and take them on the next trip to the library. And while students are there, they can sign up for the library’s summer reading program as well.

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Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.