Just because school's out for summer doesn't mean the learning has to end. There are plenty of fun ways to make learning fun this summer, like day trips to The Museum of Natural History, the Zoo, Liberty Science Center, or simply by playing spelling/counting/rhyming games on the way to the pool! One of the easiest ways to keep learning alive this summer is to keep your kids READING!

For toddlers, story time at the library (or your local bookstore) is a perfect way to take a break from the sun. I love walking to the library with my son, and relish in the simple joy of picking out new (and old) favorite books together and watching him proudly check them out with his library card. Bringing books to the pool or beach is a good way to get toddlers to take a juice break and cool off in the shade for a while.

Eric Carle is one of our favorite authors. Most toddlers know and love "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," and "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" but there are dozens more Eric Carle stories to choose from. Our favorites this week are "Papa, Please Get The Moon For Me," and "10 Little Rubber Ducks."

My three year old is also a huge fan of the I SPY books by Jean Marzolla and Walter Wick. These books are available in all shapes, sizes, and levels of difficulty and are perfect to occupy kids of all ages on long car rides to the beach this summer!

While reading with your toddler is sweet and fun, getting an older child to do summer reading might not be. Here are a few picks that just might get them to read- and not hate you for it!

If you have an elementary/junior high school kid who chooses sports over reading every time, The Wild Soccer Bunch series by Joachim Masannek is the perfect fit! Book One, "Kevin the Star Striker" is available now and Book 2, "Diego the Tornado," and Book 3, "Zoe The Fearless," are coming soon. If these books about funny, relatable kids who love soccer don't get your little sports fanatic reading this summer, I don't know what will. Check out http://www.wildsoccerbunch.com for more details.

A new novel for young adults that caught my eye was "Secret Saturdays," by Torry Maldonado, a teacher who was raised in the projects of Brooklyn and has taught for nearly a decade in the New York City public schools. After reading the book, it's clear that this author really knows how to relate to kids and can address the kinds of issues that middle school students face. I think this story about a poor, 12 year old boy in New York City will engross boys and girls in middle school. Learn more about it at www.torreymaldonado.com.

Another novel for young adults that has been getting rave reviews is "Efrain's Secret," by Sofia Quientero. This book is definitely geared towards high school students as it tells the story of a bright, high school student from the Bronx that resorts to selling drugs to raise money for an Ivy League education. Reluctant-to-read teens will find it hard not to get into the plot of this moving book and might learn some life lessons, as well.

I loved to read from an early age and happily my son seems to be following in my footsteps (for now!). For some kids and parents, reading can be a chore that leads to fighting and resentment during the school year, and even more so during the summer. But maybe, just maybe, if you find the right kind of book, summer reading might be a little less painful for all of you!