Preparing Your Brain for Back-to-School with School Stories

The summer is such a lovely time of freedom. Waking up late, eating off schedule, playing outside as the sun goes down. Vacations, relatives, VBSes, special events. What a joy! But the fall is coming . . . very quickly! Many kids will be back in school in the next two or three weeks! And then the reality of schedules, homework, practices, deadlines hits.
The best way to prepare for the oncoming drama of fall while still enjoying the freedom of summer is to read a school story! There are numerous books that will place kids in the classroom while they read in their hammocks or on their beach towels. Here are a few good ones:

  1. Frindle (Andrew Clements)—One of the best school stories ever, Clements’ Frindle shows a boy’s adventurous spirit and cleverness as he tries to outwit his teacher by inventing a new word. Always makes me tear up at the end.
  2. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (Tom Angleberger)—A classroom of kids deals with an awkward boy who walks around with an origami Yoda on his finger. The kid is weird, but, man that Yoda gives good advice! Is it possible that origami Yoda is . . . real???
  3. Sideways Stories from Wayside School (Louis Sachar)—Is it tall tale? Is it fantasy? Is it realistic fiction? Well, maybe it’s just all of the above. Plus, it is laugh-out-loud funny!
  4. Wednesday Wars (Gary Schmidt)—Historical fiction at its very best. Holling is forced to spend Wednesday afternoons with his 6th grade teacher and her favorite playwright, William Shakespeare. Set in 1968, this story feels like you are watching a session of The Wonder Years. (Remember that incredible TV show?!) Honestly, this was my favorite book of the summer!

Any one of these books would be a great read for kids transitioning out of summer into fall. And it would be even better to enjoy them as a family and discuss all of your classroom experiences together.