By Kelly Kessler and Shelly Harriman
Summer presents a terrific opportunity for kids to try a new genre, dive into a new series, or explore a topic of interest in a non-fiction book. But sometimes, it can be a struggle to get kids excited about required summer reading.
With that in mind, we have created a summer reading LibGuide for Middle School that will make our required and suggested reading lists more engaging. The LibGuide has the cover of each book, along with a short description, similar to what students would find shopping at online bookstores. Our hope is that the LibGuide will be a resource that parents and students can use to help them select books that are interesting and that students are excited to read.
Rising 5th graders will read What was the Underground Railroad? by Yona Zeldis McDonough. In addition, they will read one fiction and one non-fiction book of their choosing. We also ask that parents read one book aloud to their child. The LibGuide suggests books that 5th graders have enjoyed over the years and books that teachers feel are a good fit for that age, but students are encouraged to read books that are appropriate and interesting to them, even if they aren’t on the list. A reading log is attached to the LibGuide and should be completed and brought the first day of school.
The 6th grade LibGuide was specifically designed to help students and parents find books within the genres of the 40 Book Challenge, and we encourage students to refer back to the LibGuide throughout the year for suggestions. All 6th graders will be challenged to read 40 books during the course of the school year. The books will be selected from nine different genres, giving students a variety of reading experiences. During the summer, students should read at least three books, including at least one non-fiction book. A Circle-Square-Triangle thinking routine is attached to the LibGuide and is to be used with the non-fiction book.
All 7th graders will read The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis. Students will be given a copy of the book before summer and are not required to purchase this. They will also read a non-fiction article titled, “Malala the Powerful” which can be found on the Randolph website under Middle School Downloads. The article will be available on the site after the last day of school. A thinking routine is required to be completed with the article and is attached to the Libguide Students are also asked to read any two books by the same author. A list of good middle school authors is available on the LibGuide, but students are free to choose books by other authors.
8th graders were involved in the process of choosing two of their summer reading books during English class, a biography and a connecting text. Using the LibGuide, students searched over 50 titles to narrow their list to their top five choices. They then spent time in the library “speed dating” with their books, looking at the front and back cover while also reading several pages, to help them make a final biography choice. For the connecting text, students brainstormed a list of key topics and specific words that might be related to their chosen biography. Using the library catalog, students found a second book that piqued their interest from any genre. Using the thinking routine 4Cs, students will record connections between the two books. All 8th graders will also read an additional book by any author, for a total of three books to be read this summer.
Upper School students have selected books, on the theme of Books into Movies, to be discussed in small book clubs when we return to school. They also select additional reading from a list on the Upper School division page. Great information about reading for Lower School students can be found here. Book recommendations from our librarians and others, for readers of all ages, can be found here.