Middle School summer reading: Nonfiction takes a front seat

Posted by Kelly Kessler - 18 April, 2014

mS summer reading picAs adults, we read nonfiction on a daily basis. In fact, research shows that up to 85% of what adults read is nonfiction. Whether it is a news article, a magazine piece, or a report for work, the ability to read and comprehend informational texts is an important skill.

This year’s Middle School summer reading program will include a nonfiction requirement for 5th-8th grade students, and will offer students and their parents freedom in selecting materials that are interesting and appropriate for each child.

Students entering 8th grade will read any nonfiction material of their choice, and write a headline that captures an important aspect or core idea about the piece.

All rising 7th graders will read The Giver by Lois Lowry and should be prepared to discuss the book on the first day of school.

Both 7th and 8th grades will also read any two books by one author and write a reflection on that author’s writing style. A suggested author list will be provided, but students are free to choose authors not on the list. Details about the writing assignments and the suggested author list can be found on the Randolph website.

Rising 6th grade students will read two nonfiction articles from a newspaper, magazine, or online news source and summarize the material for a parent. The student will then pick one of the articles, make a copy to bring the first day of school, and create a two-minute presentation on the information from the article. The presentation should answer the question, “Why did the editor of the newspaper or magazine believe this piece of writing was important enough to be printed in the final publication?” In addition, students will read any three books of their choosing. A 6th grade suggested reading list can be found on the website, but students and parents are free to choose items not on the list. Students are asked to fill out a reading chart on a sheet of paper giving the name and author of each book read, along with the title, author, and publication information for the two nonfiction articles. The student and a parent must sign a pledge on the reading chart stating that the student finished each book and had not read it before. The parent should also sign beside each nonfiction article, stating that the child was able to summarize the article. The reading chart should be brought on the first day of school.

We ask our rising 5th graders to read an Underground Railroad novel from the suggested reading list (link below). They are also asked to read a minimum of one fiction book and one nonfiction book on a topic that interests them and at an appropriate level  – not too simple, nor too complicated. When students return to school, they will bring completed reading logs (provided by the school) of the two fiction books, the nonfiction book, any additional books read by the student, and books read aloud to them by a parent. Guidelines for nonfiction reading along with a 5th grade suggested reading list are available on the website.

Our goal is to build a lifelong love of reading and one of the best ways to do that is to allow kids to choose reading materials that appeal to their interests. But we also know that sometimes parents and students appreciate help in identifying titles and authors that are especially appropriate for their age. That is why we have developed the suggested reading lists for each grade.

Browse the Book Fair
We will have books from the suggested lists available to purchase at our Book Fair, May 2nd through 7th, in the Middle School library. We hope that students and parents will work together this summer to find reading material that is appropriate, interesting, and engaging for each individual child.

Rising 9th graders
The Upper School is trying something new this year for their summer reading program allowing more freedom of choice. Instead of all-grade reads, the students will choose from titles proposed by students and faculty. A complete list of titles is available on the Middle School division page.  You can read more about the new program on Library Citings, the blog of the Upper School library. More information and an opportunity for students to select their book of choice is forthcoming.

Please note that  reading lists are posted in the community/passworded section of our website, but we would be happy to share these lists with non-Randolph families. Email info@randolphschool.net if you would like to request a copy of these lists.

Topics: 5th grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade, Academics, English, Freedom, library, Middle School, summer reading, summer reading list independent school


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