7-8_Summer_Reading_List 2018.pdf

Linked 7-8_Summer_Reading_List 2018.docx

JW- 7th Grade into 8th Grade Summer Reading List 2018

At John Witherspoon Middle School, our readers benefit from the variety of fiction and nonfiction titles we offer during Reading Workshop in our English classes.  As we believe in and stress the importance of reading beyond the school year, we will be offering a few suggested titles that are developmentally appropriate for all of our students who share varied ability levels, learning styles and interests. Stephen Krashen, a linguist and leading researcher in reading, suggests that an often-overlooked method to improve reading is providing readers with a supply of interesting and accessible books by visiting local libraries and bookstores.  Research demonstrates that self-selected voluntary reading leads to the greatest gains in reading achievement. (Krashen, S. The Power of Reading: Insights from the Research, 2nd edition. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.)

As a result, we are offering ten fiction and ten nonfiction suggested titles at each grade level in our middle school as a reflective example of what students will find in each classroom library.  Students should bring a copy of their chosen text and expect to answer a variety of reader-response questions regarding their summer choices upon their return from vacation during the first full week of school.  Students can choose a book (not on this list) of comparable merit with parent permission.  One book is required to fulfill the assignment; we encourage students to read as many titles as they would like! 

Fiction Selections

Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Counting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloane
Zen and the Art of Faking It by Jorden Sonnenblick
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Bull Run by Paul Fleischman
That Was Then, This Is Now by S.E. Hinton
Fly Girl by Sherri Smith
Genius:  The Game by Leopoldo Gout

Nonfiction Selections

The Boys in the Boat (YA Adaptation)*  by Daniel James Brown
Witches: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem* by Rosalyn Schanzer  
Freedom Walkers* by Russell Freedman
Flying Higher: Women Airforce Service Pilots of WW II* by Wanda Langle
The Plot to Kill Hitler*  by Patricia McCormick
Photo By Brady:  A Picture of the Civil War* by Jennifer Armstrong     
Blizzard of Glass:  the Halifax Explosion of 1917* by Sally M. Walker
Chasing Lincoln's Killer* by James L. Swanson
Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune* by Pamela S. Turner
The Race to Save the Lord God Bird* by Phillip Hoose

*A variety of genres and non-fiction material constitute the scope of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards, which aims to equip readers with the skills necessary to succeed in all areas of literacy.

(Students:  Return this completed paper to your English teacher during the first week of school.)


Dear Parents or Guardians:


Please indicate below your approval of your child’s reading:


Title:______________________________ Author:_________________


Parent/Guardian Signature:__________________________ Date___________


Name_________________________ Period__________


Questions students can expect to see from their teachers

upon their return from summer vacation:

For Fiction Reading...

Dynamic Character

A dynamic character is often easier to build a compelling story around. Dynamic character might go through a major life transition, have a coming-of-age experience, pull through trials and tribulations, mature, have a change of heart or develop more likeable qualities -- or take a turn for the worse. A common misconception is that a dynamic character has an electric, charismatic personality. In fact, the term "dynamic" doesn't define the character's qualities, but rather refers to how those qualities change over time.

Dynamic characters are often easier to spot than static ones. A clear example of a dynamic character is Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ novel, A Christmas Carol. His evolution was dramatic as he went from a miserly scrooge to a generous giver after encounters with three ghosts. Another dynamic character is Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. She starts out as a character that is timid and naive and develops into one that is confident, assertive, and more worldly.

Static Character

Essentially, a static character is largely the same person at the end of the story as he was in the beginning. Any character in a compelling story experiences some life changes and variation in his environment, but what distinguishes a static character is usually his existing persona, confidence and appeal to readers. More compelling, heroic and charismatic characters often work better as static characters than ones who must undergo change to appeal to the audience and to significantly affect a story.

Change isn’t always a good thing, nor necessary.Static characters can go entire seasons or books without changing or experiencing the character development that a more dynamic character does. A static character does not mean that the character is boring; many times the static characters are useful in secondary roles, serving as yardsticks against which your central (and Dynamic) character's growth can be a counter. The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz and Scar from The Lion King are both static characters as key aspects of their character do not change. 

For Fiction Reading...

  1. What is important about the change that a dynamic character exhibits?And why is this important?
  2. Why is it important that this static character does not undergo an important change?
  3. There are plenty of compelling characters who encounter conflict, yet do not change all that much over the course of a story. If this is the case with your novel, explain how maintaining his/her nature/personality played a role in the book.
  4. What conflict does your character face that caused him/her to change in order to overcome circumstances?
  5. How is the main character changing? What is he or she learning about life and the role he or she plays in it?

For Nonfiction Reading...

  1. What kind of research do you think the author had to do to write this book?
  2. Give some examples of specific clue words the author uses that let you know s/he is stating an opinion or a fact.
  3. Does this book provide recent information? Where could you look to find more information about the topic?