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Your 2018 BrainFreeze Reading List

Your 2018 BrainFreeze Reading List 1100 733 admin

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: students are more likely to finish a book that they choose. Because there are so many books and even more kids to read them, we’ve compiled a reading list of engaging children’s books that your student surely won’t be able to put down!


2-4 Years

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

Do You Want to be My Friend? By Erin Carle

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Bob Books by Bobby Lynn Maslen and Lynn Maslen

Corduroy by Don Freeman

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin and John Archambault

No, David Series by David Shannon

Princess Hair by Sharee Miller

Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse by Leo Lionni

Sun Bread by Elisa Kleven


4-8 Years

Lily Brown’s Paintings by Angela Johnson

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

The Family Book by Todd Parr

The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton

Pete the Cat: I Love my White Shoes by Eric Litwin

The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds

A New Friend for Sparkle by Amy Young

Ordinary People Change the World Series by Brad Meltzer

The Bad Seed Jory John

POP Classics: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Back to the Future, Home Alone, E.T., The X Files illustrated by Kim Smith

The Major Eights Series by Emilie Pepin

Ready Freddy Series by Abby Klein

I am a Human by Susan Verde

Katie Woo Series by Fran Manushkin

Princess Cupcake Jones and the Missing TuTu by Yileya Fields

A Fire Engine for Ruthie by Leslea Newman

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Katie DiCamillo

Anne Arrives by Kallie George

Julian’s World Series by Ann Cameron

Warren & Dragon by Ariel Bernstein

Princess Pulverizer Series by Nancy Krulik

Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny by John Himmelman

Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel

The Bad Guys Series by Aaron Blabey

Brobot by James R. Foley


8-12 Years

The Dog Man Series by Dav Pilkey

Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School by Julia Falatko

Daisy Dreamer Series by Holly Anna

Ivy and Bean Series by Annie Barrows

Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome by Monica Brown and Sarai Gonzalez

Dork Diaries Series by Rachel Renee Russell

Riding Freedom by Pam Muñoz Ryan

The Last Kids on Earth Series by Max Brallier

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

Save Me a Seat by Gita Varadarajan and Sarah Weeks

Sheets by Brenna Thummler

Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom by Booki Vivat

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

Gabby Garcia’s Ultimate Playbook by Iva-Marie Palmer

Because of WInn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Pippi Longstocking Series by Astrid Lindgren

Junie B. Jones Series by Barbara Park

Dragon Slayers’ Academy by Kate McMullan

Babymouse Series by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Nanny Piggins Series by R.A. Spratt

Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

Ending: The Last by Katherine Applegate

Pug Pals: Two’s a Crowd by Flora Ahn

Stanley will Probably be Fine by Sally J. Pia

Lions and Liars by Kate Beasley

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Gangsta Granny by David Walliams

Summer Reading Challenge

Summer Reading Challenge

Summer Reading Challenge 300 200 admin

The Summer Reading Challenge is an online way to encourage students and families to read over the summer by logging 20 minutes of reading five days a week.

Each time a student logs 20 minutes they earn a raffle ticket for a prize drawing. Students can create their personal online logins and track their progress as they earn raffle tickets.  Register for the Summer Reading  Challenge!

Sign up now

Earn Extra Points with BrainGain Questions 

BrainGain questions earn even more raffle entries! Reading comprehension is key to keeping reading skills strong over the summer. Every time students log reading minutes, they will have the opportunity to answer a BrainGain question. BrainGain questions range from “Name five words that caught your attention while reading” to “Summarize the story in 3 sentences.”

Keep Learning by Doing Summer Fun Activities

Entertain Your Brain activities offer hands on science, math, reading and writing exploration. On each student’s personal challenge page there is a scrolling bar of Entertain Your Brain activities. With new activities every week, kids and families can explore science activities like “homemade silly putty” and “electricity in your mouth.”

Our reading lists ensure that finding the right book is never a problem. And our outdoor games and activities keep kids off the couch.

Customize the Summer Reading Challenge for Your School

ThinkStretch now offers school and student specific reporting on reading minutes and comprehension activities completed.  Our custom option offers you the ability to report on student reading minutes by school, classroom or grade level. You can also review the answers to the BrainGain questions by student.

In addition, schools can create special prizes and rewards for kids. From passes to the front of the lunch line to certificates of success for reading milestones achieved, your school can create a program that works best for your student population. If you’re interested in adding the Summer Reading Challenge for your school, contact Amy Pachera at

Sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge! 

ThinkStretch in 90 Seconds

ThinkStretch in 90 Seconds 540 287 admin

Whew!  That was a lot in 90 seconds!

Would you like to download a free sample to review now?





The Effects of Summer Learning Loss

The Effects of Summer Learning Loss 540 400 admin

Summer Learning has been researched extensively in the hopes that we can collectively come to a better understanding of what happens to students during the long summer months. We’ve been following that research closely and no matter the researcher, the results are always the same, summer learning is key to a student’s education.

We’ve been collecting some of the findings, and we put a few of the results into an infographic for an easily accessible source for summer learning stats and information. Check it out below and let us know what you think!


2016/17 BrainFreeze Reading Challenge Winners

2016/17 BrainFreeze Reading Challenge Winners 150 150 admin

BrainFreeze Online Reading Challenge for 2016/17 is a huge success!

Thank you to all of you wonderful adults who helped keep kids brains warm this Winter Break with lots of reading and learning fun.

Schools in over 35 states participated in the BrainFreeze reading challenge this year! 344 kids read over 25,000 minutes during winter break. Michigan had the most students registered with Florida close behind.

The top participating schools were:

Engadine Consolidated School and Yake Elementary schools in Michigan
Roy Allen and Christa McAuliffe schools in Florida.

2016/2017 Prize Winners

We have 3 terrific student winners from our random prize drawing. The first two winners won raffle tickets for reading. The BrainGain Bonus Winner was selected from students who had completed BrainGain questions.

Kindle Prize Winners
1st Place – 2nd Grade Student from Saltzburg Elemntary in PA
2nd Place – 6th Grade Student from Book Cliff Elementary in UT
3rd Place / Bonus Question – Kindergarten Student from Hanover Horton Elementary in MI


BrainFreeze Online Reading Certificates

Every student who competed in the BrainFreeze Online Reading Challenge is eligible for an online reading certificate.  Please download a certificate if it would be meaningful for your student.


Thank you to our schools who encouraged the BrainFreeze Online Reading Challenge!

States with the most registered students …


Schools with the most registered students …

Engadine Consolidated School, MI
Yake Elementary, MI
Roy Allen, FL
Christa McAuliffe, FL

Schools with the most minutes …

Michigan (7,825)
Florida (3,140)


2016 Summer Reading Challenge Winners

2016 Summer Reading Challenge Winners 398 236 admin

Congratulations to our 2016 Summer Reading Challenge Winners!

Three young readers have been randomly selected to win an iPod Touch, Kindle and iPod nano.

All summer long, these readers logged their minutes in the ThinkStretch Summer Reading Challenge.  For every 20 minutes of reading they logged, they earned a raffle ticket into a prize drawing for an iPod Touch and a Kindle.

ThinkStretch Summer Reading Challenge Readers logged 121,151 minutes this summer and earned a total of 474 raffle tickets.

Readers were also challenged to complete a BrainGain question about the books they were reading.  Each BrainGain question earned a raffle ticket into a random drawing for an iPod nano.


This year’s Summer Reading Challenge winners are…

CARTER, from Grove Christian School, VA wins the iPod Touch!

DAVID, from Holly Academy, MI wins the Kindle!

CHARLOTTE, from Greene Street Friends, PA wins the iPad nano!

Order Medals Now!

Order Medals Now! 270 257 admin

Congratulations on having your students complete their ThinkStretch Summer Workbook!

Order medals for your students now!

Children and education, kids and girls reading book in park

4 Key Facts about Summer Learning Loss

4 Key Facts about Summer Learning Loss 540 400 admin

The questions around summer learning loss are many!  Is it the parent’s responsibility? Does it only affect some children? Will it impact a student’s future? Let’s tackle these questions one by one…


Is summer learning loss a parent’s responsibility?
Yes, AND a school responsibility

Parents consistently cite summer as the most difficult time to ensure that their children have productive things to do (Duffett et al. 2004)

Schools must think outside of the school year to support their parents through out the summer months.  Parents understand their school year responsibilities – ensure homework is complete, stay engaged in classroom activities, and make sure their children arrive at school ready to learn.  However, many parents are ill equipped to create learning materials over the summer or to understand what type of activities they should be engaging in to maintain school year learning.


Does summer learning loss impact ALL students?
YES!!! Every student loses learning.

Summer learning loss is NOT correlated to race, IQ or gender (Cooper, 1996)

It’s just how the brain works – if you do not use information, it can simply be lost or much more difficult to retrieve.  Back in the day when we had to memorize phone numbers, it was easier to recall your home number than the number of the dentist you only called twice a year.  It is the same for students – if they do not use their spelling skills or practice their math facts, that knowledge is often lost over the summer.


Does summer learning loss impact ALL students the SAME?
NO!!! Low income students lose more learning.

Low-income students lose more than two months in reading achievement, more than other income groups.  (Cooper, 1996)

While every student loses math and writing skill because these skills are not widely practiced over the summer, low income students loose much more reading skill than than middle and upper income students.  This could be due to a lack of access to reading material, difficulty accessing community resources like libraries, or less familiarity with the message and culture of “summer reading”.


Is a child’s future impacted by summer learning loss?
YES!!! High school achievement is directly impacted.

About two-thirds of the ninth-grade achievement gap between lower and higher income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities during the elementary school years (Alexander et al. 2007)

Higher achievement gaps lead to higher high school drop out rates.  Students who are more than 3 years behind in reading level, which can be directly correlated to summer learning loss, are significantly more likely to drop out of school.  In addition, students who are behind in skill levels are less likely to engage in college prep classes and attend 2 or 4 year degree programs.

The Thinkstretch summer learning program is an effective, affordable and fun way to combat summer learning loss through out elementary school while engaging parents, students and teachers.


Family Characteristics That Help Halt Summer Learning Loss  

Family Characteristics That Help Halt Summer Learning Loss   268 201 admin

Did you know that “on average, students lose about 2.6 months’ worth of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills during their summer break,” says It’s called summer learning loss and that’s a pretty scary number, considering the school year is only a little more than three times that long.

Why does this matter to a college site? Because the enrichment children do or do not receive in the summers of their elementary years have a huge impact on how well they’ll do in secondary school, higher education and later life. If you want to close the achievement gap and make sure your kids maintain critical math and reading skills over the summer break, here are a few crucial characteristics you can prioritize as a family.

Taking Educational Trips

Going to the zoo, museums or just the park engages kids with the world around them. Reading signs, counting animals and getting away from television and video games has real learning results. Families that prioritize educational outings can really make a difference in halting summer learning loss.

Going to the Library

There’s no better way to keep reading skills up than giving students access to plenty of material. Heading to the neighborhood library is fun and free, and kids come home with lots of wholesome material to entertain them afterward. Where possible, make reading together a huge priority as well.

Using Summer Learning Programs

The ThinkStretch Summer Learning Program is specially formulated to match grade levels. Each program is a complete system that comes with grade-specific workbooks, parent guides, achievement medals, parent engagement nights and a culminating ceremony. That way, you can bring all the motivation of the traditional classroom to learning over the break and mitigate summer learning loss.

Of course, summer learning programs aren’t the only way students can maintain their math and reading skills. Where possible, you should combine learning programs with valuable outings that enrich kids and help them keep their skills sharp. Doing so will help close that achievement gap and get them to college, so they have the opportunity to choose the most fulfilling life for them.

Stop Summer Learning Loss

Download our sample summer workbook and program information kit.  Let’s stop summer learning loss together!

Video thumbnail

Best Video to explain Summer Learning Loss!

Best Video to explain Summer Learning Loss! 540 394 admin

Summer learning loss is a chronic problem impacting our children that grows the achievement gap with vulnerable students every year.

The achievement gap refers to the persistent difference in reading, writing, and math scores between groups of students defined by gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Over 100 years ago, in 1906, education researchers began exploring the effects of summer learning loss on student achievement. As we entered the 21st century, researchers began evaluating the link between summer learning loss and the achievement gap.

Brian Williams, host of NBC Nightly News, and his wife Jane, have been committed to reducing the achievement gap and tackling the issue of summer learning loss in low income students for over two decades. In this short video, Brian Williams narrates the story of two children’s futures based on their summer learning experiences.