Summer Reading, Grades 6-12

As the summer begins, most children are looking forward to days spent at summer camp, playing basketball at the local park, or swimming at a friend's house. As children get older, they tend to spend less time at home, making it difficult to get summer reading lists started. Use this list to engage your child in compelling books. Some are found on summer reading lists across the country and others are on my personal list of favorites.

Entering 6th GradeNumber the Starsby Lois Lowry Red Badge of Courageby Steven Crane Anne of Green Gablesby Lucy Maud Montgomery

Entering 7th Grade Tuck Everlastingby Natalie Babbitt Treasure Islandby Robert Louis Stevenson The Hobbitby J.R.R. Tolkien

Entering 8th Grade The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Timeby Mark Haddon The Outsidersby S.E. Hinton Summer of My German Soldierby Betty Greene

Entering 9th GradeBrave New Worldby Aldous Huxley The Bluest Eyeby Toni Morrison Things Fall Apartby Chinua Achebe

Entering 10th GradeTo Kill A Mockingbirdby Harper Lee Of Mice and Menby John Steinbeck The Naturalby Bernard Malamud

Entering 11th GradeGreat Expectationsby Charles Dickens Huckleberry Finnby Mark Twain The Catcher in the Ryeby J.D. Salinger

Entering 12th Grade One Flew Over the Cuckoo's NestBy Ken Kesey A Clockwork Orangeby Anthony Burgess Hamletby William Shakespeare

Books for All AgesYou will most likely be monitoring your child's progress in their summer reading list. There are certain books I can read over and over, and find something new to love every time. Here are a few suggestions for the adult looking to check in with childhood memories or to share with your middle-school aged children for the first time.

Bridge to Terabithiaby Katherine Paterson A Tree Grows in Brooklynby Betty Smith A Wrinkle in Timeby Madeleine L'Engle The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobeby C.S. Lewis

As students get older, summer reading takes on a different focus. Students will most likely be tested or expected to write an essay on material when they return to school in September. One way to help your child retain information is to buy a nice journal or notebook for her to take notes in. This inexpensive show of support is a simple way to help her organize her thoughts and refer back to them when school starts.

Since your child may be more inclined to go the mall this summer than to sit down with a book, you can set up a "reading date" for the two of you to get together and read. Get an iced coffee or go to your favorite park and discuss the book. You can read the book then rent the movie and compare the two. Being an active part in your child's summer reading experience is a crucial factor in his success.

Reinforcing your child's commitment to reading can also include an award. The Minnesota 529 College Savings Plan and Minnesota libraries announced on June 12 they would be running a sweepstakes for students participating in Minnesota's 2009 Summer Reading Program at local libraries. 15 winners will receive $1,000 each to be used towards their college education. Check your local department of education websites for other summer reading programs.

The most important thing you can do to support your child's summer reading is to have them start as soon as possible. Waiting until the week before school starts to open the book means your child will rush through and miss important details of the story. Taking notes and having frequent discussions about the book will ensure your child remembers the storyline come September.

Jennifer Cerbasi teaches at a public school for children on the autism spectrum in New Jersey. As a coordinator of Applied Behavioral Analysis programs in the home, she works with parents to create and implement behavioral plans for their children in an environment that fosters both academic and social growth. In addition to her work both in the classroom and at home, she is also a member of the National Association of Special Education Teachers and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.