I have an important announcement to make. Gather closely, please: YOU SHOULD READ STUFF THAT YOU LIKE OVER THE SUMMER.
I’m talking to you. The kid who is struggling with assigned historical fiction. The student who is tempted to dive into next year’s assigned book list early. The 8th grader who does’t have time to read graphic novels because of lacrosse practice. If those things are what you love (or what your reader loves), then AWESOME. Go for it! But if they’re not? Then go back up and read that message again. And again. And again. And as many times as you need to, until you’re as excited about it as I am.
One of my favorite things about working in the Learning Village at St. Anne’s-Belfield School is that the summer reading homework is simple: read stuff that you love. Read it a lot. No assigned lists, or “subtly suggested” titles. Find what you like, read it, and enjoy every minute. During the school year, time to read for pleasure can be hard to find. Between class projects, homework, athletics, and personal demands on your time, it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to crack that novel that sounded so interesting when you first picked it up. This is what makes summer special. While most of us don’t have limitless free time, we certainly have more moments each day to stop and say, “I have some time. How should I spend it?” Some might say that the first step is answering that question with, “I’d like to read.” But I think that the real first step is surrounding yourself with books so tempting and addicting that your brain says “FIND OUT HOW THAT STORY ENDS!” before you even have time to ask yourself the question.
Unsure of where to start? I hear you! The best way to find your next great book is to think about your last one. So Mr. Passmore and I worked with 6th grade classes to create a massive list of their favorite books, and then catalogued readalikes – books with similarities that were likely to be a big hit with readers. In order to share them in an organized way, we’ve put them in categories like Twists and Turns (if you’re looking for a book to keep you guessing), Find Your Passion (if you love to follow a character as they discover and explore what makes them tick), Who Let the Gods Out (if you can’t get enough of Rick Riordan and Greek mythology), and Dog Lovers (this one probably doesn’t need much explanation). With 34 categories to choose from and multiple titles in each one, this is a great document for inspiration.
A few things to keep in mind – these books are not limited to 6th graders, but could be a good fit for a wide range of ages, depending on the reader. An asterisk denotes a book that is the first in a series. Some books appear in more than one category – we did that on purpose! If you’re having trouble reading the document or would like a copy of the original so that you can print it out, just let me know and I’d be happy to share.
If you’re looking for more suggestions, here are some of the best summer reading lists I’ve seen this year. I’ll be reading off of a few of them myself!
- We’re the People 2018 Summer Reading List
- The Open Book 2018 Diverse Summer Reading List for Grades Pre-K-8
- We Need Diverse Books Summer Reading Series
- 2018 Association for Library Services to Children Summer Reading Lists
- The Ultimate YA Summer Reading List 2018
- Whatcom County Library System Summer Reading – Graphic Novels
- Southern Living’s If Grandma Made the Summer Reading List, These Classics Would Make the Cut
- Brightly’s Summer Reading: Book Lists and Tips for Every Age
This summer, I’ll be focusing on middle school and young adult reads as I build up our 7th and 8th grade collection. Our middle schoolers are reading more than ever, and we don’t have enough great titles to keep them busy. (What an amazing problem to have, right?!) So if you’re watching my Instagram, be ready for a YA-heavy summer.
Happy summer reading!
If you’re a social media user, please post your reads using #stabsummerreading so we can keep our conversations about books and reading going no matter our summer plans. If you’re not a social media user (or prefer to keep your profile private) but you’d still like to be featured, shoot me a snapshot of what you’re reading at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll share on your behalf. And everyone can follow along with all of the #stabsummerreading via STAB’s Summer Reading Page.