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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 2022

Incoming 6th Graders

Dear Rising 6th Grade Parents,

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 engage in some form of practice of 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.

  • All 5th graders will be required to read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. It is a story about bravery and friendship set in occupied Denmark during WWII. This novel can be found at your local library. After each chapter, the students should record 2 “nuggets” of information. This can be done in a marble notebook or on looseleaf. We will work on an assignment pertaining to this novel during the first few days of school.
  • Other titles your child might enjoy:
Realistic Fiction Historical Fiction Sci-Fi / Fantasy Mysteries / Adventures
Walk to Moons

By: Sharon Creech

Out of the Dust

By: Karen Hesse

A Wrinkle in Time

By: Madeleine L’Engle


By: Carl Hiaasen


By: RJ Palacio


By: Cynthia Kadohata

Tuck Everlasting

By: Natalie Babbitt

A Series of Unfortunate Events

By: Lemony Snicket


By: J. Woodson

Bud, Not Buddy

By: Christopher Paul Curtis

Any book from the

“I Survived Series”

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.


If there is one area in which I feel the children have grown the most, it is in writing. 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
The Waldorf School of Garden City
225 Cambridge Avenue
Garden City, N.Y. 11530

  • They should continue to write the little graphic novels they enjoy creating.


The children 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.

Thank you again for a wonderful school year.


Ericka Conlon
Rising 6th Grade Teacher

Incoming 7th Graders

7th Grade Summer Reading List + Assignments 2022

Welcome to your Summer Reading Adventure! This summer you are asked to read 4 books: the required reading + 3 books you choose from the list. You also need to choose and complete 3 different creative projects listed below. When reading your chosen book, think about which of the projects might fit the book best, and go for it!

Please bring your completed book projects to School when we begin our work together in September, as we will be sharing and discussing what you have read and created. I look forward to seeing all that you create, and wish you a marvelous summer of relaxation, good reading, and limitless creativity!

If you have questions, feel free to email me.

Peace to you, Mr. Yaeger

Required Book for all 7th Graders:

I Will Always Write You Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives   by Martin Ganda

Please select at-least 3 books to read from the list below:

  • (choose one from this amazing series) The Witch Boy, The Hidden Witch, or Midwinter Witch by Molly Knox Ostertag
  • New Kid by Jerry Craft
  • Julie by Jean Craighead George
  • Julie’s Wolf Pack by Jean Craighead George
  • Fatty Legs: A True Story by Christy Jordan-Fenton
  • Wild Ride by Keith Calabrese
  • The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery

               by Steve Sheinkin

  • It’s the End of the World and I’m in my Bathing Suit by Justin A. Reynolds
  • Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two by Joseph Bruchac
  • Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
  • Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk
  • Stamped (For Kids) by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
  • Read, White and Whole by Rajani LaRocca
  • Borders by Thomas King/Natasha Donovan

Creative Assignments

Please choose a different assignment from the list below to complete for 3 out of the 4 books you

read this summer (this includes the required book).

  • In keeping with the theme from our required book, establish pen-pal writing with someone in or outside of school, a friend who left our class years ago, for example. You may also write a series of letters about your life so far to your future adult self that you seal in envelopes addressed to you at the age of (?) and tuck them away in a shoebox not to be opened until you reach that chosen age. Think of it as a time capsule of letters of hopes and dreams, experiences, feelings, the wisdom you already possess, questions you hope to answer along your journey in life. (letters written to yourself would not be shared with classmates or with me)
  • Create a visual story map through drawing or painting, or another artistic medium, that documents the journey of a character in one of the books, highlighting various key moments and places, but this time include key quotes from the book that mark the important moments you have chosen to highlight on your story map.
  • If choosing a graphic novel to read, create an additional chapter, or entire book if you like, that continues the journey of the main characters, or takes them on a new adventure. This is your turn to create a “Choose your own adventure” addition to the story. You will need to follow the style of the author as best you can, from your drawings to the way you write the speaking voice of each character.
  • Write an additional chapter to one of the literary novels you read that takes your reader past the ending of the story. This will be good practice for our Creative Writing main lesson block at the end of 7th grade!
  • Do a character study of each main character in one of the stories. List each name and describe their

characteristics as people, what you think their personality is, what are their personality traits that you relate to or like, and what are some of their traits that you don’t like, or frustrate you? The key to a great novel or story is the reader’s connection to each character, so tell us about this connection. Drawing portraits of each character would be a great addition to your writing here.

  • Write an interpretive essay. Pick a theme and from that theme come up with your thesis statement, something you will prove in your essay using specific examples from the story. Describe key scenes, add an example from the story that backs-up and further explains your main point.

Remember to list each page number after each quote, and create an introduction and conclusion. You can even send me your rough draft for feedback during the summer!

  • Create your own book jacket for one of the books you love the most. Remember to create an illustration for the front cover that you think fits the main theme or point of the book, and include the title of the book and author’s name. The back cover should have a smaller illustration and blurbs (write-ups from people who have read it) that you make-up that will entice an interested reader to read the book. Covers should be colorful and created on any kind of paper 8.5 X 11 or larger. You may not copy an existing book cover design or blurbs, but make up your very own.
  • These stories do not take place in your backyard, that much we know. Amazingly, there are things in each story that you could most likely find in your backyard. Using a camera or video recorder, create a photographic journey in your backyard or house, or at the park, that captures meaningful or symbolic elements from each book. Examples include, documenting plants or herbs used in The Witch Boy series, etc. Make this creative and fun, use your imagination!
Incoming 8th Graders

Dear Rising Grade 8 Families, 

This summer, you are required to read 3 books and complete assignments related to 2 of them. There is one book that is required reading, as it will be presented and discussed during the first week of school in September. The other 2 books can be chosen from the list below.

Please choose two books from the list below, for a total of 3 books! 

For any two of the three books, please get creative and create an artistic representation of the story in any way you see fit.

Possibilities include: creating a storyboard, a colorful, illustrative book jacket, a chart of the symbolism found in the story, an intricate and colorful “family tree” of key characters, a visual map of key events, or an extra chapter, etc. Please be creative and imaginative, just like the stories you will read.

Summer Book List To Choose From 

I Will Always Write You Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives  by Martin Ganda*
*required –– we will discuss together in September with the 7th grade (consider reading this book last so it is fresh in your mind for our discussion the first week of school) 

Choose two (2):

  • 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
  • Patina by Jason Reynolds
  • 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 Midwinter Witch by Molly Knox Ostertag



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 2022

Incoming Freshmen (Entering 9th Grade)

All incoming freshmen must read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, plus one book from the list, and one book of their own choosing.

  • Beyond the Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon and Ashley Lukashevsky
  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
  • Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan
  • The Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis
  • Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid
  • Return from Tomorrow by George Ritchie
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  • The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
  • Growing Up by Russell Baker
  • The Human Comedy by William Saroyan
  • I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven
  • Laughing Boy by Oliver LaFarge
  • My Antonia by Willa Cather
  • The #1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • Profiles in Courage by John Kennedy
  • Story of My Life by Helen Keller
  • Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
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 Mathebane
  • 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.

  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  • Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian
  • The Stars and the Blackness Between by Junauda Petrus
  • The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
  • Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  • Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
  • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  • Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  • Grendel by John Gardner
  • The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
  • Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow
  • The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  • Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
  • The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  • Native Son by Richard Wright
  • Night by Elie Weisel
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  • Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher
  • Tracks by Louise Erdrich
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Incoming Seniors (Entering 12th Grade)

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

  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  • A Taste of Power:  A Black Woman’s Story by Elaine Brown
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  • Iran Awakening: One Women’s Journey to Reclaim Her Life and Her Country by Shirin Ebadi
  • The Autobiography of Charles Darwin by Charles Darwin
  • The Color of Water by James McBride
  • Roots by Alex Haley
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez,
  • And There Was Light by Jacques Lusseyran
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • 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
  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  • A Doll’s House & Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
  • Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  • Steppenwolf: A Novel by Hermann Hesse
  • 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
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog
  • 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
  • Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  • The Stand by Stephen King

Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig