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Summer Reading

7th Grade Summer Reading

What makes us who we are? In 7th grade ELA, we will use novels and other works of literature to explore this question. We will focus on our place in our family, our community, and our world. To get a head start on this, you will complete a summer reading assignment. You will read two books that explore this question, and complete a book journal for each. Please look at the list below for suggestions. Any book about a child growing up will do. The first paragraph will be a summary of the book. The second paragraph will be your personal response to the book. Did you like it? Not like it? Which character was your favorite? Did it remind you of another book you’ve read? What were you thinking about while you were reading it? These book journals should be ready to be turned in on the first day of school. They will be included in your portfolio and presented at your first student led conference. You may write them by hand or share them with me in a google doc. 




Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry

Mildred D. Taylor

An African American family in 1930s Mississippi faces racism and discrimination

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Betty Smith

An impoverished young girl learns how to survive in Brooklyn before WW1.

Because of Winn Dixie

Kate DiCamillo

Abandoned by her mother, a young girl finds a dog, love, and forgiveness.

Dandelion Wine

Ray Bradbury

12 year old boy grows up in Michigan in 1928.

A Summer Life

Gary Soto

Autobiographical short stories about growing up Chicano in San Joaquin Valley.

Somewhere in the Darkness

Walter Dean Meyers

14 year old boy growing up in Harlem learns to forgive his father who has returned after 9 years.

Jacob I Have Loved

Katherine Patterson

A young girl in the 1930s searches for her identity.

Where the Lilies Bloom

Vera and Bill Cleaver

A family struggles to survive hardships in the Appalachian Mountains. 


Cynthia Voight

After being abandoned by their  parents, three siblings struggle to survive.


Edward Bloor

12 year old boy growing up in the shadow of his brother, begins to remember a childhood incident. 

A book journal entry includes-

  • Title and author
  • A personal rating- ___/5 stars
  • One paragraph summary of the book
  • A personal response- did you like it? Why or why not? What characters did you like? Did it remind you of anything else you’ve read? What were you thinking about while you were reading it? 

Sample Book Journal Entry

Number the Stars, Lois Lowry

Rating: 4 / 5

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry is set in Denmark during the Nazi occupation or World War 2. It tells the story of Anne Marie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosenberg. Because Ellen and her family are Jewish, they have to figure out a way to stay safe from the Nazis. Anne Marie and her family decide that the only right thing to do is help their friends, even if it means putting themselves at great risk. They figure out a way to help the family escape to Sweden. Anne Marie has to put her own fear aside in order to do what she feels is right. 

I really liked this book because it shows what life was like during the Nazi occupation. I can’t imagine how scary it would have been to have soldiers on every corner. Anne Marie and Ellen both had to be brave in order to save their lives. This book shows us that even regular people can do heroic things. I always wonder if I could have been brave if I needed to be. Anne Marie shows me that even little kids can stand up and fight against evil.


Between now and August, I want you to read TWO books for your enjoyment. It could be fiction, high fantasy, sci-fi, horror, nonfiction-- whatever you want, as long as it gets you to read!

Attached, you will find a suggested reading list,  a skeleton, a rubric, and examples for how to write an 8th grade Book Journal. Please use the skeleton, rubric, and examples as a guide to write TWO Book Journals for the TWO summer readings that you have selected.

PS: THIS WILL BE A GRADED ASSIGNMENT that I will collect at the end of August.



8th Grade ELA Teacher

BART Charter Public School

Utopian and Dystopian

Hunger Games trilogy

Suzanne Collins

Divergent trilogy

Veronica Roth

The Road

Cormac McCarthy

The Giver

Lois Lowry

Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Flowers for Algernon
Daniel Keyes

The Wild Robot

Peter Brown

The Mortal Instruments series
Cassandra Clare

Ender’s Game series

Orson Scott Card

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

​Kelly Barnhill

The Maze Runner

James Dashner

Akata Witch

Nnedi Okorafor

Harry Potter series

J.K. Rowling



Gary Paulsen

My Side of the Mountain

Jean Craighead George

Realistic Fiction


RJ Palacio

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Becky Albertalli


David Arnold


Carl Hiaasen

The Thing About Luck

Cynthia Kadohata

Paper Towns

John Green


Walter Dean Myers


Follow Me

Ricky Dillon

A Work in Progress

Connor Franta


The Crossover

Kwame Alexander


Walter Dean Myers


Paul Langan

Smooth Moves

Derek Gentile

War Tales and Historical Fiction

Fallen Angels

Walter Dean Myers

The Book Thief

Markus Zusak

One Crazy Summer

Rita Williams-Garcia

The Things They Carried

Tim O’Brien

Graphic Novels

All Star Superman

Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly

Superman: Red Son

Mark Millar and Dave Johnson

Batman: Year One

Frank Miller

Kingdom Come

Mark Waid and Alex Ross


Raina Telgemeier


Raina Telgemeier

The Complete Maus: A Survivor’s Tale

Art Spiegelman

The Complete Persepolis

Marjane Satrapi


My Hero Academia, Vol. 1

Kohei Horikoshi

Dragon Ball Z, Vol. 1

Akira Toriyama

1 Title of Book: ____________________________________

by ___________________________________ Year Published ________________

Rating: __ out of 5

_____________________________ by _____________________ is a _____________.

        (title of the book in italics)           (author’s full name)                     (genre)

This story follows _____________________, a(n) ____________________________________.

(main character)       (brief description of character)

_____________________ is _______________________________________________ that is 

        (main character)           (more details about the character)

experiencing _________________________________________________________________.


I really ________________________ this book. The way that _____________________

        (enjoyed / disliked)         (author’s last name)

wrote _______________________________________________ was ____________________

            (memorable scene, event, or impression)       (adjective)

because _____________________________________________. That really stuck with me!

          (how it made you think or feel)

I would _________________________ this book to ___________________________________

(recommend / not recommend) (specific audience)

because ____________________________________________________________________.

   (lasting impression)


(final thoughts)

2 Title of Book: ____________________________________

by ___________________________________ Year Published ________________

Rating: __ out of 5

_____________________________ by _____________________ is a _____________.

        (title of the book in italics)           (author’s full name)                     (genre)

This story follows _____________________, a(n) ____________________________________.

(main character)       (brief description of character)

_____________________ is _______________________________________________ that is 

        (main character)           (more details about the character)

experiencing _________________________________________________________________.


I really ________________________ this book. The way that _____________________

        (enjoyed / disliked)         (author’s last name)

wrote _______________________________________________ was ____________________

            (memorable scene, event, or impression)       (adjective)

because _____________________________________________. That really stuck with me!

          (how it made you think or feel)

I would _________________________ this book to ___________________________________

(recommend / not recommend) (specific audience)

because ____________________________________________________________________.

   (lasting impression)


(final thoughts)

Gateway Portfolio - Book Journal Rubric

Book journal must score a minimum of 14 out of 20 to pass






Title, author, rating

Each book journal entry is numbered; book titles are italicized and capitalized; author’s name capitalized; personal rating included. 

Mostly complete but may not be accurately

capitalized or punctuated.

Little more than the

title and author of

the book; many formatting errors.  

Missing many elements or very poorly capitalized or punctuated. 

Plot summary

Each book journal entry has a TAG sentence; a detailed plot summary reviews the major characters, plot, and conflict.

Each book journal entry has a complete TAG sentence and plot summary; summary reviews the major characters, plot, and conflict.

Each book journal entry has a TAG sentence and plot summary, but it is too general and lacks information about characters, plot, and the conflict.

Plot summary does not adequately introduce

characters and plot; the reader is left wondering

what the book is

really about.

Personal response

Response describes personal experience with the book; response demonstrates deep critical thinking through insightful interpretation and analysis of quote or paraphrased scene. 

Response demonstrates

some critical

thinking but

interpretation is


Response is superficial and lacks depth of


Response is too short and general to demonstrate any real insight or reflection.   

Language and writing conventions

Language is rich,

detailed, and nuanced; writing

is free of errors.

Language is appropriate for

grade-level; while there are some writing errors, they do not seriously interfere with


Simplistic language; language errors somewhat interfere with communication.

Writing errors

seriously interfere

with communication.

All TEN entries complete

All ten entries are complete* 


* If student has less than ten entries, they can not earn a passing grade until they have written an 

  extra reflection on their reading habits.


Below you will find several examples of what an exemplar 8th grade Book Journal entry should look like. Each entry was pulled from one of my students’ Gateway Portfolios. While the attached skeleton acts as a guide, there are several variants that you can use once you get accustomed to writing as needed. Please refer to the below to expand your approach.

1 Trials of Apollo - Book Two: Dark Prophecy

Rick Riordan (2016)

Rating: 5/5

This entry of Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan entitled Dark Prophecy is a fantasy expansion on Greek Myths. In this book, the outcasted Greek god Apollo is forced to stop the second of three reincarnated Roman emperors from trying to take over the world as usual. Apollo travels to Indiana and takes on the form of a human 16 year-old boy named Lester. As Lester, he wields a rad battle unkele! He goes on a daring adventure and may or may not tame griffons with tater tots.

I enjoyed this book a lot. The Trials of Apollo series is a twist on the Percy Jackson series, a book series I absolutely loved. Rick Riordan’s writing is descriptive, funny, and tells a great story. For instance, when Apollo needed help taming the griffons, he grabbed his magic talking arrow that only he can hear that speaks in verses. His arrows shouted. “LO, THOU SHALT GAIN THE BEASTS’ TRUST WITH TATER TOTS!” It was awesome. Maybe you had to be there. Riordan books have always been favorites of mine and this book is no exception. I would recommend this book to anyone that was a fan of the OG Percy Jackson series.

9th and 10th Grade



ELA 101/102: 

The American Identity Through Literature

For summer reading, pick TWO of the following:

Forrest Carter, The Education of Little Tree

M.T. Anderson, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing

Tanuja Desai Hidier, Born Confused

Pete Hautman, Godless

SE Hinton, Rumblefish

Sherman Alexie, Flight

Walter Dean Myers, Monster

Walter Dean Myers, Fallen Angels

William Gibson, The Miracle Worker

Robert Knowles, A Separate Peace

Judith Ortiz Cofer, An Island Like You

Alice Walker, The Color Purple

Richard Peck, The River Between Us

An Na, A Step From Heaven

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

  • Annotated Bibliography #1:  Summarize the story and explain how the main character is perceived by others compared to who he or she really is inside.  Use relevant and specific examples from the book in your explanation.

  • Annotated Bibliography #2:  Summarize the story and compare the hopes and dreams of the characters in your two book choices.  How are they similar or different? What struggles do the characters face in reaching for their dreams?

Your work is due the first day of school.  These assignments will count as a quiz grade in ELA.

ELA 201/202: 

The Hero's Journey

The goal for this summer is to extend your reading from this year and to prepare you for next year. In order to accomplish this you will need to read at least two books.

Book #1: Ninth grade extension. - In 9th grade you studied American authors and answered questions about what it meant to be “American”. To complete this part of the task you may:

  1. Choose another book written by one of the authors you studied in class.


      (b) Choose a book from this list:

To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston

Ethan Frome - Edith Wharton

The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison

The Joy Luck Club - Amy Tan

The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kid

O Pioneers - Willa Cather

Cold Sassy Tree - Olive Ann Burns

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou

Dinner at a Homesick Restaurant - Anne Tyler

The Help - Kathrynn Stockett

Please note that the books on this list vary in topic and challenge. Please review before grabbing one. Also if you find a different title by one of these authors that has more interest to you, by all means substitute. There is no need to contact me about that. 

When finished please write an annotated bibliography entry that compares the author’s take on being “American” with one you have read in your Freshmen class. Or you may pick up on a different theme that you see running between the novels. 

Book #2: 10th grade prep. In tenth grade we will be examining heros and their journeys. Choose a book from this list and write an annotated bibliography entry that describes the type of heroic journey a character from your book takes. Simply for the sake of easing your choice, I have separated the books into fiction and non-fiction. You only need to choose one book. List on the back.



Greg Mortenson, Three Cups of Tea

Joe Simpson, Touching the Void

Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air

Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail

Eli Wiesel, Night

John Steinbeck, Travels With Charley

Yossi Ghinsburg, Jungle: A Harrowing True Story of Survival

Wilfred Thesiger, Arabian Sands

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain

Lois Lowry, The Giver

S.E. Hinton, Rumblefish

Khaled Hosseini,The Kite Runner

Pearl Buck, The Good Earth

Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

Grace Lin, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Ernest Cline, Ready Player One

Suggested Summer 2019 Reading List 11th/12th Grade

Welcome to your summer reading assignment! I want you to read and think, period. Seriously, that's the entire goal of summer reading; to get students to pick up a book, have a seat, and think some thoughts. So, I'm going to give you a list and you are going to pick two books, read them, and tell me about how they are written. 

For each book, I am going to ask you to write an annotated bibliography that analyzes the writing style of the author. You should describe their stylistic choices and tell me how that style contributed to the development of the novel. Don’t get caught up in plot synopsis, I want you to focus primarily on how the story is structured, the tone, and how the author writes. Maybe try comparing the styles of the two books you read. 

These will be due on the first day of school.

    1. Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood
    2. Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut
    3. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
    4. Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    5. Still Life with Woodpecker, Tom Robbins
    6. Sula, Toni Morrison
    7. The Trial, Franz Kafka
    8. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
    9. Geek Love, Katherine Dunn
    10. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
    11. The White Album, Joan Didion
    12. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Philip K. Dick
    13. The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein
    14. The Left Hand of Darkness or Wizards of Earthsea, Ursula K. LeGuinn
    15. Out of the Silent Planet, C.S. Lewis
    16. White Teeth, Zadie Smith
    17. Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris
    18. A Visit From the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan
    19. The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco
    20. Moneyball, Michael Lewis
    21. The Hour of the Star, Clarice Lispector
    22. The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls
    23. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
    24. The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown
    25. Franny and Zooey, JD Salinger
    26. The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
    27. Station Eleven, Emily St John Mandel
    28. I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzai
This is just a suggested list, you are not required to read these books, just to read 2 approved ones. If there is another book by an author on this list you’d like to read, go for it! If there is a book by an author not on this list, just send me an email first. Tell me the name of the book, who wrote it, and a sentence or two on why you want to read it and chances are if it’s on your reading level I’ll send you an email back that you are good to go. Enjoy your free reading!