Awaken the reader in your child

Book recommendations:

Elementary (Grades 3-4)

  • The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies
  • Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little by Peggy Gifford

    Intermediate (Grades 5-6)

  • The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
  • The Great Wide Sea by M.H. Herlong

    Middle School (Grades 7-8)

  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

    Donalyn Miller's Tips for Parents:

    • Take your child to the library often and get him/her a library card.

    • Allow your child to choose his/her own reading material for recreational reading (no judgments!).

    • Read some books along with your child and discuss the books together.

    • Share with your child what you are learning and enjoying from the books you read.

    • Give books as presents.

    • Set aside reading time at home for the entire family.

    • Do not force your child to read "the classics."

    • Get caught reading often!
    Significance Summer Reading for Middle Schoolers
    Reading ability in children often declines between school years because children don't read much over the summer. The good news is that by reading as few as four or five books during summer vacation, children can maintain their reading skills. Besides, reading is a great activity to head off those boring rainy days and long car trips. Check out a few titles from the following list of high interest fiction for middle-schoolers and avoid Summer Slump!

    Antsy Does Time by Neal Shusterman (ISBN-10: 0525478256) Realistic Fiction. When Anthony Bonano (Antsy) discovers that a classmate, Gunnar, only has six months to live, he donates a month of his own life and sparks a school-wide campaign. Antsy Does Time brings back many of the characters from his previous book, the hilarious The Schwa Was Here.

    The Brooklyn Nine: A Novel in Nine Innings by Alan Gratz (ISBN-10: 0803732244) Historical Fiction. Set against the backdrop of 150 years of American History, this book follows nine generations of baseball loving children in one Brooklyn family.

    Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson (ISBN-10: 1416905855) Historical Fiction. Denied the freedom she was promised after the death of her former master, young Isabel becomes a Patriot spy, hoping to gain her own independence along with a new nation.

    Elephant Run by Roland Smith (ISBN-10: 1423104013) Historical Fiction. After Luftwaffe bombings destroy his London apartment building, Nick Freestone is sent to live with his father on the family's Burmese teak plantation. When his father is captured by the invading Japanese, Nick strikes out on a dangerous rescue mission.

    Graceling by Kristin Cashore (ISBN-10: 015206396X). Fantasy. Gracelings are people with special talents: musicians, artists, and warriors. Graced with fighting ability, Katsa is a pawn in her uncle's evil schemes. When she crosses paths with a mysterious stranger, Katsa must decide her own destiny and discover the true power of her Grace.

    H.I.V.E.: The Higher Institute of Villainous Education (ISBN-10: 141693572X) Science Fiction. Move over Hogwarts, the hip, new school for gifted teens may be inside the dormant volcano of HIVE, a school for budding criminal masterminds. Fans of this book will love the sequel, H.I.V.E.: The Overlord Protocol.

    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (ISBN-10: 0439023483) Science Fiction. Travel into the future world of Panem (formerly the US), where each of twelve districts must choose two teenagers to compete in the yearly Hunger Games, a battle which brings glory and riches to its single winner and death to the losers, all broadcast on national TV.

    The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan (ISBN-10: 1423101472) Fantasy. The final installment in Riordan's modern day Greek Mythology adventure finds Percy and Co. fighting the Titans to save Mount Olympus. A movie version of The Lightning Thief, the first book in this wildly popular series, is currently in production.

    The Season by Sarah MacLean (ISBN-10: 0545048869) Historical Fiction/ Mystery. Unlike most young ladies from titled families in Regency England, seventeen-year-old Lady Alexandra Stafford, daughter of the Duke of Worthington, is not looking forward to her debut in London Society. When a neighboring earl's father is killed under suspicious circumstances, Alex joins him to investigate the crime and falls in love. Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman (ISBN-10: 0545075661) Mystery. When Ryan and Sarah investigate the haunted gold-mining dredge in Skeleton Creek, Ryan is badly injured. Forbidden to see each other, the two teenagers continue their investigations in secret: Ryan writes in his journal and Sarah films video, which readers can access online with passwords scattered throughout the book.

    Donalyn Miller is the author of The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child, published by Jossey-Bass. Her popular blog for, The Book Whisperer, provides tips on motivating readers and explores topics of interest to teachers and parents. Donalyn teaches sixth grade Language Arts and Social Studies at Trinity Meadows Intermediate School in Keller, Texas.

    About the author:
    Donalyn Miller is a 6th grade language arts and social studies teacher in Texas who can turn even a dormant reader into a student who can't put books down. Known as "The Book Whisperer" for her ability to help students find their inner reader, her blog on has won a wide and devoted following.

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