Each year, English Language Arts teachers attempt to expand and enhance the reading culture amongst their students. Time is precious throughout the year, and sometimes those great expectations of extra books being read just cannot be met.
When I was teaching in New York, I kept a running list of outside reading suggestions for my students, but I was never able to squeeze enough into the schedule to get to the list. Summer break became an opportune time to share the list and encourage students to bulk up on their reading.
By creating a summer reading list for your students (and you), you’re keeping minds fresh and engaged throughout the break time. Next year’s teachers will thank you, and your students will thank you, even if they don’t realize it at the time.
While some summers I might load up the list with “classics”, this year I’m all about pushing the contemporary Young Adult novels that keep students (and us young-at-heart teachers) excited about reading.
These titles are all recent novels that are ready to spark all sorts of in-depth discussions and writing prompts.
1. The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Can science and technology go too far? Start the debate with students and colleagues about teenager Jenna Fox’s self-discovery and battle with the reality of artificial intelligence. Bonus activity: create a self-reflection or comprehension assignment in Castle Learning to be completed over the summer.
2. Looking For Alaska
Before John Green’s novel The Fault in Our Stars became a sensation he wrote this novel that begs the question of what happens when all caution is thrown to the wind.
3. If I Stay
If everything you knew was taken away, would you start fresh? Writing prompt fuel.
4. Fan Art
The fear of rejection and not being accepted for who you are. A contemporary teen romance.
5. Red Queen
Age old tale of prejudice. A modern Romeo and Juliet for the YA Generation.
6. Binary Star
The pain and tragedy of addiction, presented in a poetic study.
7. King Dork
Rebellion against the orginal high school novel rebel.
This list of books will be sure to make summer reading turn from a task to a fulfilling experience for all readers.
To help students dive in, consider these bonus steps:
- Create your own reading calendar
- Give students bookmarks with the schedule printed on them
- Create a place online for students to post their thoughts about each book.
Summers fly by in the blink of an eye. So to accomplish all our reading goals means we need a plan.
Finding ways to motivate your students to read on their own is a challenge, but we all know the benefits. Sharing in their journey, by reading the books as well, will create a culture that promotes literacy.
Think of ways you can keep yourself, teachers, parents, and students involved. An online reading chart? What do you think? Share with us which books you’d add to the list of summer must reads.