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Most parents and students know how important it is to read every day, even during the summer months when sun and fun often take precedence over the “three R’s.” But, what books could middle and high school students be reading to help them be ready for that first bell in the fall? We asked several teachers for their picks. Here's what they recommended.
Great Reads for Middle School:
Middle School: The Real Deal by Juliana Farrell and Beth Mayall. This guidebook will give your child everything she needs to know to start middle school, including how to choose classes and clubs, and what to expect on the first day. It also includes fun quizzes and practical advice.
The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank, Otto Frank (Ed.), and Miriam Pressler (Ed.) Anne Frank’s autobiography tells a young girl’s account of her family’s experiences in Nazi Germany, and will give your child insight into history written from a completely different perspective. It's a great way to keep your child's mind revved up for history class while at home for the summer!
Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery by Russell Freedman. Reading this biography of an inspirational first lady will help your child make connections with the information she will learn in class, and give her some background into one of the few people who has lived in the White House. Another great way to go back to school with history on the brain!
Help! I’m in Middle School… How Will I Survive? by Merry L. Gumm. A funny look at middle school, from study skills to social skills. The common sense advice is interesting , valuable, and fun to read.
Too Old for This, Too Young for That! Your Survival Guide for the Middle-School Years by Harriet Mosatche, Ph.D. and Karen M. Unger. This book gives advice about friends, family, school, and even self-esteem. Your child will find everything she needs to know about becoming a teenager, and leaving the elementary years behind.
The Middle School Student’s Guide to Ruling the World by Susan Mulcaire. This fun and informative workbook, with supplemental podcasts, will teach the study skills, time management, goal setting, and organizational skills your child needs to be successful in middle school.
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. Many teachers will require students to read this adventure of a young boy living in the Ozarks, who teaches his two redbone hounds to become champions. Encourage your child to read this over the summer so she’ll have a jump start on this year’s required reading.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien -This classic tells the story of a well-to-do hobbit who just wants to be left alone until a wizard draws him into an amazing adventure. Your child will most likely be required to read at least one of Tolkien's books--might as well get a head start.
A Smart Girl’s Guide to Starting Middle School (American Girl Library) by Julie Williams. This book includes checklists and tips from girls who have been there to help your daughter learn what to expect from middle school.
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. Set during the Civil War, this book about a Union soldier and his feelings about war is sure to show up on a required reading list at some point during your teen's high school years. Plus, it will give her insight into American history.
Straight Talk About Student Life by Christine Dentemaro and Rachel Kranz. This book offers advice about schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and other pressures and problems your teen will face in high school.
101 Ways to Make Studying Easier and Faster for High School Students by Janet Engle. Would you like to learn more information in less time? This book helps your teen find her learning style, take better class notes, and improve comprehension. It also includes tips from teachers and other students.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. A mysterious young man hides a deep secret, and shows that it is possible for people to redefine themselves. This is another book that your teen will probably be required to read for English class in the near future. Reading it early will help her be prepared.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini Two young boys in war-torn Afghanistan come from very different backgrounds, but are closer than brothers, until a terrible event comes between them. The author was born in Afghanistan, and wanted this book to capture the land of his youth. Not only will this probably be required reading, it will give your teen a glimpse of World History.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This unforgettable classic story of race, class, and justice is set in Alabama during the Great Depression. The story is told through the eyes of a child, as her father stands up for what is right, despite the outrage of their town. And guess what? Your teen will most likely have to read it soon in school anyway.
Where’s My Stuff?: The Ultimate Teen Organizing Guide by Samantha Moss and Lesley Schwartz. This book will teach your child how to organize her school supplies, her time, and her life!
Where Should I Sit at Lunch?: The Ultimate 24/7 Guide to Surviving the High School Years by Harriet S. Mostache, Ph. D., and Karen Unger, M.A. Checklists, tips, and quizzes help your teen with everything from dating to writing term papers to preparing for college. This book features tips from real life experts and teens.
Hamlet by William Shakespeare First performed in 1602, Hamlet is a play about a young prince whose uncle kills his father and marries his mother, then becomes king. Chances are, your teen will be reading some of Shakespeare’s plays in school. Becoming familiar with his work is a great way to prepare for returning to class.
High School Bound: The Ultimate Guide for High School Success and Survival by Martin J. Spethman. This book discusses 30 high school related topics, including studying, attitude, goals, peer pressure, sports, homework, and social life.