Sunday, June 10, 2012

Your Opinion of Summer Reading Novels?

Updated my post because I saw the awesome "Whatcha Reading" Linky at Mrs. Stanford's Class Blog that she'd joined on Mrs. Bainbridges's Class Blog! Great linky and book titles everywhere!!! 

Be sure to swing by both blogs! Images link to them!
Below is the post I wrote on Summer Reading Novels and What I WANT to Read this Summer! Hope you enjoy you reading time this Summer too!
What book to read first.....Of course, there are a few I need to read again for school (summer reading), but there are others that I'd like to read to see if I want to incorporate them into my units! Just maybe I will squeeze in a new title or two next year. And Of couse, I have a few others for leisure sitting on the shelf, just waiting!
 Decisions, decisions!
Warning, a little rant involved below...
These are for my upcoming 8th graders' summer reading. They read at least 1, and our higher level English must read The Light in the Forest + 1. 
School Reads for EnglishStudent choice or complex textshistorical fiction required title in 7th-12th grades
Catching Fire, Heart of a Champion, and Mockingbird are all great reads---quick reads. I very much enjoyed all of them! Two of them I'm digging deeper into for teaching guides of my own. Heart of a Champion tends to be what 50% of the guys pick (even though I loved it), and Mockingbird seems to be what 50% of the girls pick. (Do ya think they judge a book by its cover??) 
We all know the craze on Catching Fire! I predict it to be the top choice. Last year, we used The Hunger Games. Since it's now a movie too, we switched to Catching Fire! At least we're trying to keep them from just watching the movie!
The Light in the Forest is the "classic" in this bunch. It's a great historical fiction novel that gives an individual a little perspective.  I'm assuming lots of schools require this title at some point between 7th-12th grade in the United States...Right?  It would be the most "complex" text of the four we've given as choices. It is included exactly for that reason. It has been a nice tool, a deciding factor for the student, as far as who takes on the challenge of Pre-AP English or who switches back to regular level English during the Summer. So many students don't/won't read if they are not "into" the book, which I guess I can understand. I remember those days. some point, we (they) gotta comprehend text we (they) don't "WANT" to read but "MUST" read. That's life. A lack of desire to read a more complex text that isn't what they'd select tends to make them question if up for the challenge of an advanced class. I think that's something they should ponder! If they are not up for the extra challenge, then they should take the regular English level class. It's not fair, to the ones that have a desire to produce the WOW factor in their work, to allow others without the desire to be credited with a Pre-AP status if that's not what they are willing to deliver. JMO! 
In no form or fashion do I condone watering down regular English---it's just as it's called- Regular...The Normal/Standard 8th Grade English Class. (SO I'm Rambling! I know!) Nevertheless, the very touching novel actually has a lot to offer and teaches us quite a bit about racial/cultural views in the 1700s-Colonial America time period. That should be at least slightly important to people---I hope.  I was rather irritated with bashing comments in regards to this novel on a particular web site. It baffles me that many out there find 0 interest in heritage, background, history, culture, religion, etc. This book seems to be either loved or hated whenever I seek students' opinions come early August, which is why I'm offering up a little of my two cents. The fact that some like it and others can't stand it makes me look into reviews by common readers (not experts so much) to get their opinions. 
If I may say, the comment that really bugged me about the book included, "...another novel....ruined by overzealous junior high English teachers..." REALLY??????  I'd like to know more opinions from teachers about the book. Have you read it? If so, what did you think?
It's been a while since I was teaching 5th grade and under, so I really don't know what you guys require of your kiddos, or your districts anyway. 4th/5th grade Teachers?? Do you guys require summer reading?
For 6th, 7th, 8th, & 9th grades, I'd be interested to hear from you what book(s) you require your students to read that are not necessarily at the top of the students' list of choices.

ON TO MY LEISURE READS...Books I'm READING  this summer:
Hunger Games Fanatics1st: The Taker by Alma Katsu--UPDATE: READ IT! STARTING BOOK #2 in this trilogy now!! (Adult Content)
I've only just begun this book and, so far, it's definitely not what I'd suggest my middle school kids to read. However, that doesn't change the fact that it was given to me by one of my avid readers. This book is one of a TRILOGY! --I love trilogies and series...The first couple of books can't disappoint me too much because I technically don't know how things are going to turn out for certain! So, I'm extra eager to read the next!

By the way, I hate getting to the end of an awesome book. Honestly, how does that even make sense? Of course I want to finish an awesome book....I just don't want it to be over yet! Aggh! Does anyone else feel like this?
Innovative Connections Ann Marie Smith

2nd: Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
(Jana of Thinking Out Loud told me this book is also one in a tiliogy!!)

3rd: Starters by Lissa Price UPDATE: READ IT! It's a good read! 
This is the book supposedly for those that loved The Hunger Games---lots of similarities--I'm ready to read Enders!
This book's sequel, Enders, is supposed to be released December 2012.

What you are reading this summer, for leisure and for school! I'd like to hear from a variety of grade levels?


  1. Oh, some new great titles for me to read. Thanks so much. I like how in touch you are with the age of students you teach and that you can understand their perspective so well. CATCHING FIRE is a great read, I agree. Thanks for suggestions, I am always looking for great titles! Carolyn

    1. Let me know what you end up reading! :) Glad I was able to throw some titles out there. Have a great Sunday!!! Thanks!!

  2. I agree that the required reading is one way to determine who has 'it' to begin in a Pre-AP course or a AP course. I have only read Catching Fire in that list. Honestly, historical fiction is not my favorite genre. We never had required reading when I was in junior and high school. My current school does not require it either, but I don't think it is asking to much to read ONE (or two) books over the summer.

    I have had an English teacher ruin reading for me (AP English in 12th grade) because it was her interpretation and thoughts and no one else's that mattered. We didn't really discuss the books so much as discuss her viewpoints. She didn't ruin the book; just the experience in class. However, that was one English teacher out of 6 (from 7th to 12th grade). In ninth grade we read Great Expectations and I hated that book, but the teacher made our discussions and projects interesting.

    I am adding the Personal Demons trilogy to my summer reading list. They really need to work on the cover though because I don't think the people on the cover look like they are in high school.

    Great post!

    Thinking Out Loud

    1. Thanks so much for your input. Hope you like the books you've added to your list. You may get to them before me!! Ha...
      Talk later!
      Ann Marie

  3. Thanks for linking up! I am WAY intrigued by the cover of "The Taker" and will be looking that up on my Nook. The cover art is similar to a GREAT book I just finished called "Daughter of Smoke and Bone".

    Mrs. Bainbridge's Blog

    1. Well thank you for doing the link up, Christina! I enjoyed participating! I've yet to start The Taker. Today seems a good day to start!
      Be well, Ann Marie


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