Tradition &

Summer Reading Lists


Middle School Summer Reading Lists and Assignments

The best way to build vocabulary skills and become a good writer is to be an avid reader. To encourage intellectual pursuits during the summer, middle school students are required to read 3 books during their summer break. Writing assignments related to the readings (details below) are also required and due on the first day of class.

Summer 2023

Incoming 6th Graders

Dear Rising Grade 6 Families,

As your child moves from fifth grade to sixth grade, there are some important things you can do this summer that will help them continue to grow. Research shows that the average student loses one to three months of learning over the summer break if they do not practice the skills learned throughout the year. Like a flower that has been carefully planted in rich, healthy soil, it will take lots of watering (practice), sunshine (perseverance), and love (encouragement) this summer to make sure that they continue to bloom. Here are some recommendations to help keep them sharp and motivated.


Summer reading is critical so that the children can continue to develop critical thinking skills as they become lifelong readers. The students will be required to read 2 books this summer, one book of their choosing and a second required novel.

Assignment #1:

Read a grade-appropriate novel and create a trading card for one of the characters in the book. The trading card should be 51/2” x 8” (a folded sheet of 8 ½ x 11 paper). On one side, draw an illustration of the character or an object that represents that character. On the other side of the paper, write a detailed description of that character. Remember: The goal is to create a picture of that character in the mind of your reader. Have fun and be creative! This assignment is due on the first day of school.

Below are some titles your child might enjoy:

Realistic Fiction Historical Fiction Non-fiction Mysteries / Adventures
Walk Two

Sharon Creech

Out of
the Dust

Karen Hesse

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

By: W. Kamkwamba & B. Mealer

Carl Hiaasen
for a Whale

By: Lynne Kelly

By: Cynthia Kadohata

By: Natalie Babbitt

A Series of Unfortunate Events

By: Lemony Snicket


RJ Palacio

Bud, Not Buddy

By: Christopher Paul  Curtis


By: J. Woodson

Any book from the
“I Survived Series”

The novels in the chart above are suggestions. However, your child should feel free to read any grade-appropriate book of their choosing. This includes appropriate graphic novels.

Assignment #2:

All 5th graders will be required to read An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff. This novel is a true story of the bond between an eleven-year-old boy and a busy sales executive and a heartwarming journey of hope, kindness, adventure, and love. This book has been assigned to the entire middle school. The students will participate in group discussions at our annual middle school orientation. You will receive more information regarding this day of community building in the Back-to-School letter in August. After each chapter, the students should record 2 “nuggets” of information. This can be done in a composition notebook. We will work on an assignment pertaining to this novel during the first few days of school.

Help your child find engaging “good fit” books.

  • Read to them and with them and experience the joy of reading together. I can tell you firsthand that your child loves to be read to. Reading some of your favorite childhood stories is a wonderful way to bond with books!
  • Find opportunities to have conversations about the books they read.
  • For spelling, word games such as Scrabble and Boggle are fun. These are fun, engaging, and educational ways to learn.


During my brief time with the students this year, I have focused on instilling confidence in their writing abilities. Please continue to nurture the joy of expressing their ideas on paper.

  • Encourage them to keep a journal this summer. They can describe the places they have visited, the activities they have done, or the meals they are enjoying.
  • Have them write a letter to a friend or their teacher! I would love to hear from them! Let them know that if I receive a letter from them, I promise to write back!

Ms. Ericka Conlon
225 Cambridge Avenue

Garden City, N.Y. 11530


Children of all ages love challenges and finding solutions. Find ways to incorporate math in the real world.

  • Have them help you in the kitchen by doubling or making half of a recipe.
  • Ask them to add up the cost of the meals you ordered at a restaurant.
  • At the gas station, tell them how many gallons of gas you need and have them calculate the price.

These are great suggestions to help keep math skills sharp so that they can be efficient problem solvers.

Enjoy the lazy days of summer by taking a walk, swimming in the ocean, flying a kite or jumping rope! Relish each moment you spend with your child. I cannot wait to hear about their adventures.

I look forward to working with your child next year. Thank you for trusting me to partner with you in your child’s education.


Ericka Conlon
Rising 6th Grade Class Teacher

Incoming 7th Graders

Dear Rising Grade 7 Families,

Greetings & Welcome to your summer 2023 reading adventure! This summer you are asked to read at least two books and complete one project prior to the first day of school. Bring your project (and books) into class on the first day of school. I hope that you will enjoy your reading time this summer, whether it happens on a rainy day indoors, during a long car or plane trip, on the sand at a beach, high up in a tree, or at any other time and place that suits you. I will be happy to hear you share all your reading adventures!

Our entire middle school is reading one book this summer. We will discuss and work with it during our special back-to-school celebrations on the second day of school. The required reading book is:

An Invisible ThreadA Young Readers’ Edition
by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski

Please find the list of choices for your second book and the project options in the document at this link.

I hope that your summers will be filled with adventures, creativity, and relaxation. I am very excited to see you in September and look forward to hearing about your summer vacations as well as sharing in your good reading work! Should you have any questions, please email me at stemkoskia@waldorfgarden.org.

Best Wishes,

Amy Stemkoski
Rising 7th Grade Class Teacher

Incoming 8th Graders

Dear Rising Grade 8 Families,

Happy Summer! As you embark on the incredible journey your days turn into over these next 2 ½ months, find time to settle into a few of the good books you’ll find listed below. This summer you are asked to read 3 books in total, the required reading An Invisible Thread, plus 2 books that you can choose from the list.

To keep your creative minds sharp, please complete 1 creative project related to An Invisible Thread, and 1 other creative project related to your chosen books. This means you are required to complete 2 projects in total.

Creative Assignment Possibilities:

Get creative and create an artistic representation of the stories.

Bring your projects into class the first week of school so we can celebrate your work!

Possibilities include:

  • a colorful, illustrative book jacket
  • a visual chart of the symbolism found in the story
  • an intricate and colorful “family tree” of key characters
  • using your own animation to bring a scene from the story to life
  • a visual map of key events in a story
  • write and design an extra chapter to any of the book in graphic novel form, etc.
  • creating a fictional interview with one of the characters
  • create a portrait of a key character, include a key quote from the story placed around your portrait
  • create a set of character trading cards, including a portrait/illustration, and key characteristics, skills, etc.

Please be creative and imaginative, just like the stories you will read.

Summer Book List To Choose From

  • Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff    (This is the required reading book)
  • Becoming: Adapted for Young Readers by Michelle Obama
  • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
  • The Million Dollar Race by Matthew Ross Smith
  • I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World (Young Readers Edition)
  • Stir It Up by Ramin Ganeshram
  • The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Lockwood & Co (Book 1) by Jonathan Stroud
  • The Amulet of Samarkand (A Bartimaeus Novel Book 1) by Jonathan Stroud
  • The Magic Fish (graphic novel) by Trung Le Nguyen
  • Victory. Stand! (Graphic novel) by Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes, Dawud Anyabwile
  • The Knight Blooms Behind Castle Walls Volume 1 (graphic novel) by Masanari Yuduka
  • Frizzy (graphic novel) by Claribel A., Ortega


Anthony Yaeger
Rising 8th Grade Class Teacher



High School Summer Reading Lists

The best way to build vocabulary skills and become a good writer is to be an avid reader. To encourage intellectual pursuits during the summer, high school students are required to read 2-3 books during their vacation. They are required to discuss and write an essay about their summer reading on the first day of English class.

Summer 2023

Incoming Freshmen (Entering 9th Grade)

All incoming freshmen must read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, plus one book from the list, and one book of their own choosing.

  • A Thousand Steps Into Night by Traci Chee
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid
  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
  • Growing Up by Russell Baker
  • I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven
  • Laughing Boy by Oliver LaFarge
  • My Antonia by Willa Cather
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • Profiles in Courage by John Kennedy
  • Return from Tomorrow by George Ritchie
  • Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
  • Story of My Life by Helen Keller
  • Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Fariza
  • The Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • The Human Comedy by William Saroyan
  • The #1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck
  • Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Incoming Sophomores (Entering 10th Grade)

Read three selections: two from the following list and one individual selection.

  • At Risk by Alice Hoffman
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • Black Boy by Richard Wright
  • Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
  • Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler
  • Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  • Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin
  • House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday
  • Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
  • Ironweed by William Kennedy
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
  • Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • The Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
  • The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Stories by Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan
  • The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
Incoming Juniors (Entering 11th Grade)

Incoming juniors will read three books over the summer. All juniors must read Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson, one book from the list (see below) and one book of your choice. On the first day of class, all juniors should be prepared to be tested on their summer reading.

  • Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  • Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
  • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  • Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  • Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
  • Grendel by John Gardner
  • Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow
  • I Am Malala by Malala Myousafzai and Patricia McCormick
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  • Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian
  • Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
  • Native Son by Richard Wright
  • Night by Elie Weisel
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  • Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  • The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
  • The Stars and the Blackness Between by Junauda Petrus
  • Tracks by Louise Erdrich
  • Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel
Incoming Seniors (Entering 12th Grade)

Read three selections: two from the following list and one individual selection.

  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  • And There Was Light by Jacques Lusseyran
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Autobiography of Charles Darwin by Charles Darwin
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  • A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes by Stephen Hawking
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • The Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Cider House Rules by John Irving
  • The Color of Water by James McBride
  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  • A Doll’s House & Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Fixer by Bernard Malamud
  • Franny & Zooey by J.D. Salinger
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • Iran Awakening: One Women’s Journey to Reclaim Her Life and Her Country by Shirin Ebadi
  • Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog
  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  • Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  • Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  • Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy
  • A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  • Roots by Alex Haley
  • Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  • The Stand by Stephen King
  • Steppenwolf: A Novel by Hermann Hesse
  • A Taste of Power:  A Black Woman’s Story by Elaine Brown
  • Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  • Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez