Summer slide? Not with these reads
School’s nearly out, and that it means it’s time for:
Hanging out at the pool?
No, summer reading lists of course!
Summer reading is a long-standing tradition of assigning incoming 6th-12th graders books to read between July and August. The idea is to avoid the “summer slide,” an annual dip in students’ reading abilities over the vacation months, and to give English classes something to dive into right at the start of the next school year.
Students might not be too excited about picking up new books so soon after being released into their break, but there’s lots of research to suggest that reading between school years is the best way to keep literacy skills growing strong all year. If you have a student who’s grumbling about their summer books right now, reading the books before them (or right along with them) can help you keep them engaged with the assignment. It lets you ask questions, make connections to everyday life, or start lively discussions about what might happen to the characters next.
Here’s what some schools are assigning for the summer:
Author: Gordon Korman
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Due to an administrative mix-up, troublemaker Donovan Curtis is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, a special program for gifted and talented students, after pulling a major prank at middle school. If you’re a fan of Louis Sachar (Holes, There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom), Gordon Korman’s unpredictable sense of humor will be right up your alley!
Author: Cornelia Funke
Jacob and Will Reckless have looked out for each other ever since their father disappeared, but when Jacob discovers a magical mirror that transports him to a warring world populated by witches, giants, and ogres, he keeps it to himself. Until Will follows him one day, with dire consequences. Cornelia Funke’s previous novels Inkheart and The Thief Lord have already inspired film adaptations. Reckless, which draws on the ageless appeal of Brothers Grimm fairytales, might be the next young adult book to be turned into a blockbuster movie!
Title: March, Book One
Author: John Lewis & Andrew Aydin
Genre: History (Civil Rights) / Graphic Novel
A comic-book style presentation of the life of Georgia congressman John Lewis, focusing on his youth in rural Alabama, his meeting with Martin Luther King Jr., and the birth of the Nashville Student Movement. This book includes mature historical content, and is recommended for students 7th grade and older.
Title: I Am Malala
Author: Malala Yousafzil & Christina Lamb
Genre: Nonfiction / Biography
Malala Yousafzil was 10 years old when the Taliban took control of her home region in Pakistan and decreed that girls could not attend school. She went anyway. This book follows Malala’s story as she stands up for women’s rights and education, survives an assassination attempt, and becomes the youngest person ever to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. An alternate version for younger readers is also available.
Any of these titles grab your interest? Let us know in the comment section, or tell us what books are on YOUR summer reading list… and what grade you think you’ll get on the pop quiz when school starts up again.
Bonus: Want even more? This SciFi booklist from Ted.com is specifically geared towards spurring creativity in teens.