Two books from these lists, 1 book from the Book Club List and 1 book from the Book Writing Task

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Hixson Middle School Summer Reading 2017

This summer you should read as many books as you can. As a student at Hixson Middle School, you are required to read at least two books from these lists, 1 book from the Book Club List and 1 book from the Book Writing Task. This list is a compilation of some of the best-loved, most popular books. One book you choose should be the book for a book club you will participate in when we return to school in August. Book clubs will consist of groups of 15 students or less, and a teacher or community member will facilitate a discussion in which students will be assessed on their comprehension and participation. The other book you choose should be the book for your summer reading writing task that will be due within the first month of school. You will select 1 task (either analytical summary or letter to the author) to complete based on your second book selection.

Please complete the form, so that we can match teachers and students for book clubs. Happy Reading!

select 1 title from this list select 1 title from this list

A Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck


Jackaby by William Ritter


The Cay by Theodore Taylor


Heartbeat by Sharon Creech


Fish In a Tree by Lynda Hunt


The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Young Readers Edition) by William Kamkwamba


Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick


Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and The Science of Ocean Motion by Loree Burns


Escape! The Story of the Great Houdini by Sid Fleischman


The Landry News by Andrew Clements


Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood


The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander


Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein


Neil Armstrong is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me by Nan Marino


The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth


The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt


The Dumbest Idea Ever! By Jimmy Gownley


Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett


Ungifted by Gordon Korman


The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton


Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan


It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas


BOOK SELECTION FORM (current 6th & 7th graders) *5th grade has different dates*
Please return this form to your Reading Language Arts teacher on April 18, 2017! EVEN if you don’t order books from school, return the form to get the book club of your choice!
Student name:_________________________________________________Grade(now):_____

Reading Teacher:________________________ Current School: ____________________

Title of Book of Choice for Book Club ____________________________________________

********************* OPTIONAL ORDER FORM BELOW ************************

Hixson Middle School – 2017 Summer Reading Order Form

Please list the books you wish to order for summer reading and the payment method.

Prices listed reflect a discount as well as a tax exemption!

Book Title:_________________________________­­­____________________ Price _________

Book Title:_________________________________­­­____________________ Price _________

Book Title:_________________________________­­­____________________ Price _________

Book Title:_________________________________­­­____________________ Price _________

Book Title:_________________________________­­­____________________ Price _________

Book Title:_________________________________­­­____________________ Price _________

Total cost of the order : __________________________

Paying by: ____Cash ____Check (Please note your child’s name on the check)

Money must be turned into Mrs. Holloway along with this completed form. Books will be delivered to the Hixson Middle School Library/Media Center after May 8, 2017. 5th grade students will have their books delivered to their elementary school.

Parent Signature Date

Parent Printed Name Parent Phone Number

Summer Reading Writing Task Choices

(Only choose 1 task for your second summer reading book title selection from the writing task list.)
Analytic Summary (Choice A)

An analytic summary is more than just a summary or a retelling. In an analytic summary you should explain what the author does in the text. Your analytic summary must contain the following:

● In the first sentence, introduce the author and title of the work you are summarizing. 10 pts.

● State the central idea (nonfiction) or theme (fiction) of the work. 20 pts.

In the subsequent sentences, describe how the message is conveyed. What did the author intentionally do to express the central idea or theme? Consider these elements: theme: characterization, setting, repetition, conflict, inner thinking, dialogue central idea: structure, contrasts and contradictions, extreme and absolute language, numbers and statistics, quoted words 30 pts.

● Be sure to clearly analyze and explain the link between the author’s choices and how they develop her message. 20 pts

● Finish with a concluding sentence, perhaps a condensed version of the author's conclusion, or a restatement of his central idea or theme. 10 pts.

● Writing is free of errors. 10 pts.

----------------------------------------------- OR ----------------------------------------------------------------

Letter to the Author Rubric (Choice B)

format: 25 points

○ typed or written in an easy to read font

content: 25 points

○ describes how a work of literature somehow changed you or your view of the world

  • addresses the author (the letter does not read like a literary criticism essay)

  • provides explanations or examples, anecdotes or other details to support your point of view

reader response/originality and expression: 25 points

  • dialogues with the author rather than summarizes or analyzes literary elements

  • relates the book to you rather than asks questions about why the book was written

  • corresponds with the author rather than compliments her/him

  • vocabulary is smooth and natural, not “tongue-tied or showy

organization and grammatical correctness: 25 points

  • ideas are presented in a logical, organized manner

  • no unnecessary repetition

  • an intriguing introduction

  • a finished-feeling closing

  • few to no errors of spelling and punctuation

Sample Letter to the Author

Dear Sharon Draper,

A lot of books have flashes of insight, but only few of them have those bursts of fireworks that snap open the reader's mind and make them realize something new. Your book,Out of My Mind, filled me with those sparks. Although your book is just another story out of the billion others out there, it meant more than "just another story" to me. I enjoyed getting to know Melody. Despite the fact that she had cerebral palsy, Melody had an amazing character that shone brightly. Out of My Mind helped me learn a life-long lesson.
Your book has changed my point of view. I never teased those who had special needs, but I never really felt comfortable around them either. When I started reading your novel, I saw how Melody was a smart and talented girl. At the beginning of the book, I asked myself, "Would I be Melody's friend?" The weird feeling in the pit of my stomach told me the sad truth: no. I carried on with your book from start to finish, and when I closed it, I asked myself the same question, "Would I be Melody's friend?" I realized, with a grin, that the answer was right in front of me. Throughout Out of my Mind, I had become Melody's friend. Her thoughts became my own. When her quiz team left her behind when it was time for them to travel for their competition, I felt angry. How could they? I then remembered that only a few weeks before, I would most likely do the same thing as Melody's teammates. Her teammates showed me what not to do, because when they left Melody, they left me, and I did not like the feeling of being left behind.

As I read and read, Melody's thoughts and feelings melted easily into my brain like an ice cube on a sidewalk on a hot summer's day. I have read other books about people with special needs and how they were treated unfairly, but the setting was always in the past. By putting the story in present day, I saw how people with disabilities are still treated with unkindness and how some people still act as if people with special needs are at the bottom of the feeding chart. I feel guilty about my previous thoughts. Melody is my inspiration. I have no idea how she dealt with her disabilities so well. In public, I am not a talker, but at home, I am a chatterbox. If I couldn't talk, I would blow. Melody had the electronic talker, but it didn't allow her to communicate fully. Even when she could "speak" her mind, it was still hard for others to understand how she truly felt.

Before I read Out of My Mind, I used to wonder how people with special needs thought. It's hard to confess, but I thought that they were less intelligent. Judging on the person's disabilities clouded my mind, and I formed misguided conclusions about them. Last year, there was a boy in my class who had Asperger's syndrome. I didn't really know him; he just seemed different to me. Later on in the year, we happened to get seated in the same group. This was around the time that I read your novel. I got to know him and see what he was really like. Melody showed me how she was just as good as anyone else in her classroom and how the same goes for anyone else with disabilities. The boy in my class amazed me by what he was capable of doing. As the days went by, I started helping him instead of avoiding him.

Melody opened my eyes and cleared the world around me. She showed me how a girl with cerebral palsy is the same as a girl like me. Once I learned from my mistake, I started to fix it, like with the boy in my class. Now it is time for me to thank you for writing this amazing novel. I will never forget your fantastic book. I don't think anyone could. If they did, they would be out of their minds.


Margaret Lim

 Letters About Literature National Winner 2012

National Winner, Level 1: Margaret Lim, Searcy, AR

Retrieved from

Sample Analytical Summary (nonfiction text)

In “Superman and Me,” Sherman Alexie writes about his transition from a poor, Indian boy living on a reservation, to a writer who returns to the reservation to inspire other Native American students to write. This transition is one that he parallels through the life of the fictional superhero Superman. In his essay, Alexie uses an extended metaphor to explain how, much like Superman who is able to save lives and break down doors, he aspires to save the lives of other children on the reservation, and break down doors that prevent them from succeeding.


Alexie grew up in a family which valued reading and he wanted to read in order to please his dad. He recounts teaching himself to read through looking at the pictures in a Superman comic book. In the essay, Alexie says he could not read the comic, but he makes up words to go along with the pictures. In one of the comics, there is a picture of Superman breaking down a door. Alexie pretends the words in the comic say, “Superman is breaking down the door.” This evidence starts the extended metaphor. Superman, who is known for saving lives, breaks down the door—leaving the reader to assume he is trying to save someone’s life.


Alexie writes about wanting to be a pediatrician, another person who saves children’s lives. “I was going to be a pediatrician.” However, Alexie does not become a pediatrician even though he tries to save lives. This is a metaphor too.


 The idea of doors being broken down comes back in the end of the essay. In the last paragraph, Alexie writes about himself as an adult who goes back to the reservation in order to work with the remaining Indian students. He describes the students who need saving. “Then there are the sullen and already defeated Indian kids who sit in the back rows and ignore me with theatrical precision.” After he describes the Native American students who need saving, Alexie writes “ ‘Books,” I say to them. ‘Books,’ I say. I throw my weight against their locked doors. The door holds….I am trying to save our lives.” The idea of a savior breaking down a door in the last paragraph is parallel to Superman breaking down a door in the beginning of the essay. When Alexie is a child, he imagines Superman breaking down doors just like Alexie imagines himself as an adult trying to save lives to break down doors: This imagination demonstrates how Alexie creates an extended metaphor in which becomes a savior like Superman.


In conclusion, Sherman Alexie’s essay uses an extended metaphor in which he assumes the personality of the fictional character Superman and becomes a savior of lives on the Native American reservation for Native American students. This extended metaphor begins in the beginning of the essay with Alexie as a child, and continues through the end when he continues to break down the doors. However, what Alexie is trying to save the students from at the end of his essay is defeat.

Grade 8 Hixson Middle Student Sample

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