Summer Reading

2017 Middle School Reading

Summer Reading 2017 • Middle School

Middle school students will be reading at least four books this summer. General expectations are outlined below. Much of the emphasis is on free-choice reading.

Each sixth grader will read:

  • The Cay by Theodore Taylor or So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins (each student should write a 100-word summary of the work he or she chooses)
  • Wonder by R. J. Palacio
  • Two additional books chosen by each student (anything that is 6th-grade reading level or above)

Sixth grade students will not be tested on their summer reading, but they should have read these books to the best of their ability and anticipate assignments based on their reading. The only writing they need to do is the 100-word summary of The Cay or So Far from the Bamboo Grove.

Each seventh grader will read:

  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
  • At least two additional books of his or her choice (anything that is seventh-grade reading level or above). One of the choice books may be an audiobook.

Seventh graders should expect September assignments based on summer reading.

Each eighth grader will read:

  • Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson (Each student must have a copy of this book to bring to school in September. We recommend reading this book towards the end of the summer because the year will begin with lessons based on this novel.)
  • At least three additional books of his or her choice (books that are eighth-reading grade level or above)—one of these books must be nonfiction. One of the choice books may be an audiobook.

All eighth grade students new to Thayer must read Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian—one piece of literature read in 7th grade. This will satisfy one of the fiction requirements above.

Eighth graders should expect September assignments based on summer reading.

In recent years we have increased the emphasis on free-choice reading. While we have some required titles at each grade level, at least half of the summer reading is free choice. In this way, students who read only the required minimum will also be able to read what they choose to read, something summer should be for. To aid students and parents in making choices, we have created several book lists of young adult literature. Students' choices do not need to come from these lists. They are only there to help.

Many Thayer students love to read and are lucky to have found this joy that encourages them to keep doing what is so valuable to their academic development. Many of these students will read more books than required this summer. Some students will have to organize their time to make sure they complete the minimum expected. Others won't be able to organize their time on their own and will need help from a parent or a tutor. Some will do their summer reading reluctantly.

Many students see that summer reading helps them grow, keeps them engaged in the most important academic skill, and provides entertainment. Many of those who don't find reading enjoyable, probably wish they did—something to keep in mind when working with a reluctant reader. Since we teachers are not working with students over the summer as they complete their reading, we need parent and student support in order to make the summer reading program effective and successful.

Should you have questions or concerns regarding summer reading, please feel free to email or call me.


Carter Harrison
English Department Head and Director of Studies

2017 Upper School Reading

Summer Reading 2017 • Upper School

Students entering all grades must read THREE books: one required for their grade level (under“For All”), one from the “Choose at Least One” list for their grade level, and one of their own selection. Please note that students registered for Honors or AP level must read a second required text in addition to those three. Please note that the second required reading text for AP Literature is different than the second required reading text for AP Composition.

The optional texts lists are intentionally short so that more students read the same books. We hope this common reading will spark frequent, substantial literary discussions about those texts. A defining characteristic of the Thayer community is that we enjoy sharing with each other—that sharing includes passionate conversations about books!

Students’ Membean accounts will stay open and available throughout the summer. We encourage students to continue their work with Membean; frequent vocabulary practice improves reading comprehension (and confidence!) and performance on standardized tests. 9th graders and new 10th and 11th graders will open Membean accounts at the start of the school year.

For All: Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie
For Honors: The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger

For All (choose at least one):
Black Ice, Lorene Cary
Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline
Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel

9th graders, please note:

  1. 9th grade teachers have put together a short guide on Haroun and the Sea of Stories that you may use to support your reading. Click here to download and print the guide.
  2. There are several books titled Black Ice; please be sure to read the one written by Lorene Cary.

For All: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
For Honors: Micro Fiction, edit. Jerome Stern

For All (choose at least one):
The Universe versus Alex Woods, Gavin Extence
The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver
Code Name Verity, Elizabeth E. Wein

For All: One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
For AP Comp: Flight, Sherman Alexie
For AP Lit: Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann

For All (choose at least one):
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
The Other Wes Moore, Wes Moore
The Orchid Thief, Susan Orleans

For All:
Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
For Honors: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
For Voice/Advanced Comp: The Elements of Journalism, edit. by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel

For All (choose at least one):
The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini

Required reading for French IV Honors
Kiffe Kiffe, Demain par Faïza Guène

Required reading for AP French
Une si longue letter par Mariama Bâ

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