Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer Adventures with Middle School Books

This year, we have two middle schoolers again.  Celia is entering 5th grade, and Matthew is now in 8th grade.  For being in the same age bracket, their "To Read" lists are so different!

Celia has two books to read for school:  A Cricket in Times Square by George Selden (that one came home with a work packet) and Beverly Cleary's The Mouse and the Motorcycle.  She's already at work on those!

She would like to re-read the The Adventures of Lily Lapp series by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher that she read last summer.

She and Neal have been watching the Harry Potter movies together.  I always like to read the book before the movie (they are rarely equally good), but in this case, watching these well done movies first helps her get an overview of the story, and then reading the books will fill in the details omitted for time.  If she puts her mind to it, I wouldn't be surprised if she read the entire series before school starts again in September.  I'm kind of glad she's getting into longer books -- a few summers ago, she was reading Junie B. Jones and The Magic Treehouse series and going through two or three books every day.  A Harry Potter tome should take her at least two or three days!

Image: Amazon.com
She's also looking at other "transitional" Beverly Cleary books like the Ramona Quimby series - she read Beezus and Ramona last year and loved it.  I think she'd also enjoy The Babysitters Club series, as well.   (I admit, I'd probably be just as interested in re-reading those, too...)  No matter what she is reading, she always is contemplating what will be next - she can't bear to not have a new book waiting in the wings.

This summer, things are a bit different for Matthew.  He doesn't have any "official summer reading" because he's now a homeschooler.  We will be taking our longer break in the fall, so he's diving right into 8th grade.

We're currently working on two literature programs.  The first one is called Lightning Literature and it's from Hewitt Homeschooling.  (You can read our review of it soon!)  We'll be working on the books and short stories listed in this program.  Currently he is reading the story "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" by Rudyard Kipling, and next on the agenda is The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. After seeing how much the audiobook version of helped Luke manage the dialect with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, I think we will be downloading the audiobook version of this one, too.

The second program is Beyond the Book Report from Analytical Grammar.  For this program, he's choosing his own books.  I'm not certain how far we will get with this over the summer - definitely through one book report, and possibly into a second.  His first book choice is Mockingjay by Susan Collins.  He is not a reader by choice, but after reading Catching Fire and seeing the film, he's excited for the next movies.  Instead of seeing the movies first, he's actually interested to read the books first.  Since it gets him to read without arguing, I'm totally fine with that!  For as much of a reader and planner Celia is, he is not.  When I asked him what he was going to read next, he looked at me as if I had lost my mind.  After just staring almost a full minute with his jaw open, he said, "I haven't finished Mockingjay yet, what do you mean, 'What's next?'"  I guess that adventure is going to be charted as we go!

Summer Reading for Middle Grades

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  1. Has your son ever tried reading any books by Wayne
    Thomas Batson or The Book of the King series by Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry? My son absolutely loved those. Also, The Mysterious Benedict Society books and the Redwall books are greatly loved by many boys! :)


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