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Summer Reading

6th Grade Summer Reading Project

During the summer, select one of the following books from the list below and complete the reading project.

Book Title Author
Blade Runner Philip K. Dick
Bud, Not Buddy Christopher Paul Curtis
Chasing Lincoln's Killer James Swanson
Far Far Away Tom McNeal
Frindle E.L. Konigsburg
Hatchet Gary Paulsen
Hope Was There Joan Bauer
Jar of Dreams Yoshiko Uchida
Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life Wendy Mass
Lightning Thief Rick Riordan
Lupita Manana Patricia Beatty
Maze of Bones Rick Riordon
Old Yeller Frank Gipson
Schooled Gordon Korman
Stitching Snow R.C. Lewis
Swindle Gordon Korman
The Cay Theodore Taylor
The City of Ember Jeanne Duprau
The Egypt Game Zipha K. Snyder
The Family Under the Bridge Natalie Carson
The Great Gilly Hopkins Katherine Paterson
The House of Dies Drear Virginia Hamilton
The London Eye Mystery Siobhan Dowd
The Other Side of the Dark Joan Lowery Nixon
The Schwas Was Here Neal Shusterman
The Watson's Go to Birmingham - 1963 Christopher Paul Curtis
Walk Two Moons Sharon Creech
When You Reach Me Rebecca Stead



Reading Project

Select two of the following options to complete based on your novel of choice. This project will be due Friday, September 6, 2019.

  1. Write a future letter from one of the characters in the book to another character in the book or another person. Touching Spirit Bear example: Write a letter from Cole to another teen going through Circle Justice.
  2. For each chapter, write a 6-word summary. Choose your word carefully so they have a maximum impact! Single words, phrases, and sentences are all ok.
  3. Rewrite the climax from the point of view of a different character -- not the protagonist. It can be the antagonist, another major character, or even a minor character.
  4. Write the epilogue of the story -- 1 year, 10 years, or 20 years after the end. Describe what the main character is doing, what he or she has done since the end of the novel, what he or she is like, and what his or her interests are.
  5. Write a series of letters, emails, or texts between yourself and a friend, discussing what happened in the book and what it made you think about. Include your feelings, your connections, and information from the book to drive your dialogue. 
  6. Choose 10-12 characters from the book, and write a 2-3 sentence statement from them imagining how they would respond to a controversial statement. Touching Spirit Bear example: Juvenile delinquents, like Cole Matthews are incapable of change and will always be a danger to society. Answer as: Cole, Peter, Garvey, Edwin, Mom, Dad, Cole's lawyer, Peter's lawyer, Rosey, the guard, the Spirit Bear.
  7. As a reporter, write an interview of the protagonist and another prominent character. Ask at least 10 thought-provoking questions that both characters will answer. Thought-provoking questions should be open-ended, not right-there yes or no questions.
  8. Personify an object from the story, and have it summarize the novel from its own point of view. Touching Spirit Bear example: the Circle Justice feather, the totem Cole carved, Cole's ancestor rock, or the Spirit Bear could describe Cole's journey and change.

7th Grade Summer Reading Project

The Dialectical Journal 

Choose one of the novels below for this assignment. Parents: Please review your child's selection, as some of the literature contains adult language. If your child chooses a series, please have them pick up with the next novel they have not yet read. A dialectical journal is another name for a double-entry journal or a reader-response journal. A dialectical journal is a conversation between the ideas in the text and the ideas of the reader. In your journal, have a conversation with the text and yourself. Write down your thoughts, questions, insights, and ideas while you read your novel. 

Book Author
Little Women Louisa May Alcott
The Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury
Ender's Game Orson Scott Card
The House on Mango Street Sandra Cisneros
The Mortal Instruments Cassandra Clare
Hunger Games series Suzanne Collins
Matched, Crossed, or Reached Ally Condie
Maze Runner James Dashner
The City of Ember Jeanne DuPrau
Mockingbird Kathryn Erskine
The Diary of a Young Girl Anne Frank
Lord of the Flies William Golding
Unstoppable Tim Green
The Missing series Margaret Peterson Haddix
Ophelia Lisa Klein
The Chronicles of Narnia series C.S. Lewis
Keeper of the Lost Cities Shannon Messenger
The Lunar Chronicles series Marissa Meyer
Wonder R.J. Palacio
The Inheritance series Christopher Paolini
Where the Red Fern Grows Wilson Rawls
Percy Jackson series Rick Riordan
Divergent series Veronica Roth
The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien
Carry On Rowell Rainbow
The Uglies series Scott Westerfeld
The 5th Wave series

Rick Yancey


Use the composition notebook that is required by the supply list for 7th grade language arts. 

  1. Fold the page in half (leaving the pages in the journal -- do not tear out)
  2. In the left column, write down parts of paragraphs from your book or quotes from your novel.
  3. In the right column, write down your thoughts, commentary, and questions about the information in the left column.

Paragraphs and quotes from the book and the page number for each

Your thoughts, comments, and questions related to the paragraphs and quotes.


An exemplary double-entry journal contains the following:

  • Fifteen or more entries for the entire book.
  • Each entry is two or more complete sentences that demonstrate full developed thoughts or connections about the text.
  • Entries are from the entire book (beginning, middle, and end). This is indicated by page numbers. 
  • No spelling errors.

Important: Entries will be evaluated on details, thoughtfulness, and variety in the type of entry (see chart below).

Sample Journal Entries
"Thanks. It's really nice." But the words sounded hollow, even to Brian. p. 8 Why does Bryan feel that way about getting a hatchet from his mom? If the words sounded hollow to Brian, he must not mean it. Why is he mad at his mom? (Asking questions)
"No roads, no trails, no clearings. Just the lakes, and it came to him that he would have to use a lake for landing. If he went down into the trees he was certain to die." p. 23 I can't imagine keeping my cool in a situation like this. I'd be on my cell phone panicking, and trying to land the plane. I guess it's important to keep your cool in crisis (reaction to text)
"Behind him walked his opposite, a huge man....and dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws." What a great image the metaphor creates! The man, he walked heavily, lumbering along like a bear. It makes me think he is bulky and slow. Bears can be fierce and protective too. I wonder in what other ways the man will be like a bear? (literary technique - metaphor)


An inadequate response to text on the right side of an entry might be: I know how that feels. I have nothing too. (This connection is rather shallow. It needs more elaboration.)

Aim for a mix of comments about:

  • the personal connections you make (to the character, setting, event)
  • patterns you notice
  • predictions you can pose
  • commentary on important decisions made by characters, ideas expressed, or key events
  • observations about the character
  • what seems unusual
  • recognition of a literary technique and ideas about its meaning and purpose
  • what you think something means

Ideas for sentence beginnings in right column:

  • Why did...
  • Who is...
  • If I were [the character], at this point, I would...
  • This settings reminds me of...
  • This doesn't make sense because...
  • The idea/event seems to be important because...
  • When the author creates a tone that...
  • The...symbolizes...and it...(the effect)
  • With the...,the author creates an image of...that...
  • This character reminds me of...because...
  • What would happen if...
  • Now I understand...
  • The language makes me feel the author is...
  • The details create/show...
  • compared to a...and it really makes me see how...


Bring your dialectical journal to class on the first day of school and be prepared to discuss your novel with your classmates.

8th Grade Summer Reading Project

It will not be long before we are back in school and you are participating in 8th grade American Studies. Please choose a book from the list below and read it over the summer. As you read, you will keep a Dialectical Journal. Your journal should be written in a Composition notebook (not a spiral).  The Comp Log you use for this assignment will count as one of the Comp Logs requested on the 8th Grade Supplies List.

Below is how to title each of your columns, an explanation of what to do in each column, and some examples from a Dialectical Journal about the novel Moby Dick. Your Dialectical Journal must have a minimum of 12 entries that are thorough and demonstrate effort and thoughtfulness.

Textual Evidence from Novel My Response about the Meaning

The left column is for the specific quote to which you're reacting and the page number where you found it. Use complete sentences from the text here, and underline any particular words or phrases on which you want to comment.

The right column is for you to interpret what you're reading. Note that “dialectical” comes from a Greek word meaning “conversation,” which implies that you are, in a sense, talking with the text; this process is also referred to as close reading and explication.

Use this space to comment, analyze, critique, and question. You should also use the Dialectical Journal as an opportunity to find things in the text that most interest you. An effective dialectical journal does all of these things.

Do not use the Dialectical Journal as an excuse to complain about the book or call it “boring.” You may criticize it, but only when your criticisms are specific and substantive, such as an author's use of clichés, verbose language, or predictable plot devices. Also, do not refer to yourself in your comments through the pronouns “I” or “me’—your focus is on the text, not yourself.

Example Quotes:

With the problem of the universe revolving in me, how could I—being left to myself at such a thought-engendering altitude,—how could I but lightly hold my obligations to observe all whale-ships’ standing orders, “Keep your weather eye open, and sing out every time.” p. 161

Beware of enlisting in your vigilant fisheries any lad’ with lean brow and hollow eye; given to unseasonable meditativeness; and who offers to ship with the Phaedon instead of Bowditch in his head. p.161

But while this sleep, this dream is on ye, move your foot or hand an inch; slip your hold at all; and your identity comes back in horror. Over Descartian vortices you hover. p.162

Example Responses:

What “problem of the universe” is Ishmael referring to? He’s obviously introspective, but he hasn’t indicated any problem before this. Maybe “problem” actually means “mystery” here; this seems to fit better, given Ishmael’s natural curiosity about life and the world in general.

Why isn’t he more concerned about his duty to the Pequod?

Nathaniel Bowditch was a founder of modem maritime navigation who lived from 1773-1838. The Phaedo is a dialogue by Plato about the last few hours in the life of Socrates. Therefore, Ishmael is saying it’s a bad idea to hire any young sailor who has philosophy on his mind rather than sailing.

Ishmael apostrophizes the reader here to make us feel and understand the danger of daydreaming while whale-watching up in the mast-head.

“Descartian vortices” is an allusion to René Descartes, the French scientist famous for his contributions to geometry and cartography. It might be a reference to the long fall ifa person slips from the mast-head;: it could also be a reference to the vastness of the ocean.


Books Author
Little Women Louisa May Alcott
A Night to Remember Walter Lord
The Count of Monte Cristo or
The Three Musketeers
Alexander Dumas
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or
Through the Looking Glass
Lewis Carroll
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Arthur Conan Doyle
Lost Horizon James Hilton
The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien
Treasure Island,
Kidnapped, or
The Mysterious Tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Robert Louis Stevenson
A Journey to the Center of the Earth,
Around the World in 80 Days, or
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Jules Verne
David Copperfield or Oliver Twist Charles Dickens
Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles,
The Illustrated Man,
or Dandelion Wine
Ray Bradbury
The Ox-Bow Incident Walter Van Tilburg Clark
The Red Badge of Courage Stephen Crane
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman Ernest Gaines
The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway
The Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
White Fang or The Call of the Wild Jack London
The Member of the Wedding Carson McCullers
Tom Sawyer Mark Twain
Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe
Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell
The Joy Luck Club Amy Tan
Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte
Rebecca Daphne Du Maurier
The Hunchback of Notre Dame Victor Hugo
Shane Jack Schaefer
The Bridge of San Luis Rey Thornton Wilder
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Betty Smith
Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte
Daniel Defoe Robinson Crusoe
Lord of the Flies William Golding
Frankenstein Mary W. Shelley
Dracula Bram Stoker
All Quiet on the Western Front Erich Maria Remarque
Gulliver's Travels Jonathon Swift
The Time Machine H.G. Wells
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Dee Brown
The Story of My Life Helen Keller
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin
Hiroshima John Hersey
Profiles in Courage John F. Kennedy
A Testament of Hope: The Essential
Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.


7th Grade students help out at the animal shelter during a service learning project