Summer Reading and Math
Lower School Summer Math Requirements and Enrichment
Summer math requirements and enrichment for grades 1-4 can be found in your Veracross parent portal by logging in and clicking the orange button at the top of your screen. Current families: you received an email from Zora Skelton, Math Coach, on May 9 with instructions on math enrichment.
Vearcross Parent Portal Snapshot: Login and click the orange button.
Additional Lower School Math Resources Available Until July 31:
login.mathletics.com: Mathletics provides engaging and valuable math learning through math activities and live practice.
www.reflexmath.com: Reflex provides online fact practice to ensure mastery of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
www.ixl.com/signin/episcopalsod: IXL helps students gain fluency and confidence in math through mastering essential skills at their own pace with fun and interactive questions, built in support, and motivating awards.
RETURNING FAMILIES: Students know their logins for the above sites. Please have them login to google with their ESD email address and password and then access the math sites using single sign-in. Math websites are available until July 31, 2023.
NEW 2023-24 FAMILIES: New students' math accounts will be set up at the beginning of the school year. Your homeroom teacher will provide more information at that time.
Middle School Two-Part Summer Reading Program
PART ONE: Required Readings
This text serves as a touchstone for the discussion of other works of literature. The requirements are listed in the grade-specific drop-downs below.
PART TWO: Enrichment Readings
All students need to read at least ONE book of their choice, that they have not read before, for enrichment this summer. Details in grade-level drop-downs below.
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Each student must have a copy of the book on the first day of school.
In addition to their required text for English, fifth graders must read a minimum of one book of their choice for enrichment this summer. Follow the three simple steps on the Gill Library page by clicking the gold button.
Students should be prepared to write about their enrichment text during the first week of school. As you read, consider how you might understand the book with regard to the following: How would you describe the challenges faced by one of the main characters? How would you describe the challenge itself? How did the main character deal with the challenge? What challenges have you faced in your life? What have you done to overcome these challenges? How have you learned to deal with challenging situations?
It is hoped that students will not restrict their reading to just two books (the required book and the enrichment book), but rather enjoy reading all summer! When you return to school in the fall, some of the class discussions will focus on your reasons for choosing the books that appear on your reading chart: Do you simply love any book related to science fiction or fantasy? Do you love everything by a favorite author? Do you love any book that is related to a favorite topic such as sports or animals regardless of whether the book is a mystery, biography, or work of historical fiction? What kinds of books energize you? Get you thinking? Get you wondering?
Note: New rising fifth grade students will not have access to Beanstack until July but it is not required in order to complete the required or enrichment reading. Information about Beanstack can be found on the Gill Library page using the button above.
Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eager
Expectations: You will be assessed in various ways on your summer reading books, so it is a good idea to underline and annotate notes in the margins as you read. Take special note of characters, important plot points, setting, and theme. Do not use library books or books previously owned and annotated; instead, you will need to purchase new books for the summer reading!
According to Penguin Random House: While her friends are spending their summers having pool parties and sleepovers, twelve-year-old Carolina — Carol — is spending hers in the New Mexico desert, helping her parents move her grandfather into a home for people with dementia. At first, Carol avoids prickly Grandpa Serge. But as the summer wears on, Carol finds herself drawn to him, fascinated by the crazy stories he tells her about a healing tree, a green-glass lake, and the bees that will bring back the rain and end a hundred years of drought. As the line between magic and reality starts to blur, Carol must decide for herself what is possible — and what it means to be true to her roots.
In addition to their required reading, sixth graders must read a minimum of one book for enrichment this summer. Follow the three simple steps on the Gill Library page by clicking the gold button.
The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton
All incoming seventh grade students are expected to read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. This story asks questions about who is an ‘outsider’ and who is an ‘insider’. How do people form their identities based on their perceptions of where they fall on the social spectrum? Students will explore the motivations and choices that characters and individuals make in literature and life.
As there will be writing components connected to this novel, students should come prepared to discuss major plot developments, character evolution, and themes. No writing is required over the summer. However, students should annotate as they read: underline passages that reflect character, plot, and/or theme. Also, occasionally write a little something in the margin that makes sense of why the reader underlined what he or she did. If one finds a favorite passage, it should be marked too, so we can discuss it.
In addition to their required reading, seventh graders must read a minimum of one book for enrichment this summer. Follow the three simple steps on the Gill Library page by clicking the gold button.
EIGHTH GRADE ENGLISH
In eighth-grade English, students look deeply within themselves in order to define who and what they are and who and what they aren’t. Students realize that how they define themselves and how they’re defined by others eventually informs their sense of self and how it shapes their world view. By understanding ourselves--looking inward--we are then ready to look beyond ourselves. We are dedicated to the concept of igniting lives of purpose with an educated conscience.
As a result, our course involves student choice and student voice. With intention to create a unique, rich, and meaningful academic experience, we will begin this journey with the summer reading.
Students will read at least one of the following books for English, selected from the options below. Students will be asked to justify and/or explain their reasoning behind their choice, and to establish what they hope to gain from their book as part of their Back to School Assignment.
Choices for Part One
- The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
- The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
- Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
- Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
- Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder
- In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner
- Dante and Aristotle Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
- Feed by M. T. Anderson
- Code Talker by Joseph Bruhac
- Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
- The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater
- The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
- The Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
We expect students to annotate their book(s). Below is our suggestion, as we will use this annotation technique throughout the year.
- Questions: Ask questions in the margin.
- Connections: What personal or textual connections can you make? Historical? Current events?
- Inferences/Reflections: What does this make you think of? What can you infer about this?
- Evaluation: What judgment can you make about certain aspects of the text? You might consider the author's style, as well as characters/details that resonate, such as: “I like the way the author writes.” “Nice simile connecting ___ to ___,” etc.
- Vocabulary: Circle vocabulary words you don’t know. Make a guess as to what they mean using context clues or look them up.
- Please write a brief summary for each chapter or major part of your book, as doing so will help you with assignments when you return to class.
Back to School Assignment
On the first day of school, students will bring their choice book, annotations, and/or other notes and the following supplementary pieces:
- A thoughtful paragraph about why they chose the book that they did, what they hoped to get from the book, and what they actually got from that book.*
- Three current events articles from a reputable news source that relate thematically to their book.
- Song lyrics that either relate to a character, plot point, or theme of their book.
*Example of Justification of Choice Statement:
I chose The Book Thief by Markus Zusak because I am interested in WWII, and I wanted to learn more about the Holocaust. As it turns out, I didn’t really learn too much about the tragedy that led to the extermination of more than six million people; this wasn’t really the book for that, and maybe I’ll try some nonfiction for a deeper understanding of the causes of this tragic event in history. I did learn about a whole new way of looking at things. For example, my ideas about death changed after looking at it from the perspective of the book’s narrator. The style of the writer was weird and interesting; he talks about tasting sounds and feeling colors, and the imagery in the novel allowed me to see things I had never imagined before. The writer talks about all kinds of different human relationships, and I loved seeing how relationships were formed and fostered, and even how they were lost and left. I learned (again!) that life and death are not always fair, and sometimes the good guy doesn’t win. The book was long and sad, but also happy, funny, and hopeful. I may not have gotten what I came for in The Book Thief, but I am glad I read it because I got things I didn’t expect.
In addition to their required reading, eighth graders must read a minimum of one book for enrichment this summer. Follow the three simple steps on the Gill Library page by clicking the gold button.
Don't forget, resources like Membean and NoRedInk offer opportunities to keep your reading and writing sharp all summer long.
You can navigate to these sites using their logos.
Upper School Two-Part Summer Reading Program [No Math Requirement]
PART ONE: Required Readings
These readings serve as a touchstone for the discussion of other works of literature. Select your upcoming English class from the dropdown menu below to view the required reading for that class. Please purchase a physical copy of the text for in-class use.
PART TWO: Enrichment Readings
All students need to read at least ONE work (or approximately 250 pages) for enrichment. See the Enrichment drop-down below for details and recommendations.
- English I - Ninth Grade
- English II and English II Honors - Tenth Grade
- English III - Eleventh Grade
- English III: AP Language and Composition - Eleventh Grade
- English IV: AP Language and Composition - Twelfth Grade
- English IV: AP Literature and Composition - Twelfth Grade
- Enrichment Reading - Required
All students need to read at least ONE work (or approximately 250 pages) for enrichment. Click the button below for enrichment reading recommendations.
In addition to reading the required works for each grade level, we encourage students to read additional texts of their own choosing. In May, students should set their own goals for reading by answering the following questions: What do I want to understand that I don’t right now? What do I want to know more about? What interests me that I’d like to explore further? After selecting the texts, students will then explore how the particular work will help them achieve their goals: Why am I choosing these titles? What do I hope to achieve by reading these particular works and genres? At the beginning of the fall semester, students will be asked to reflect on their reading experience by exploring: What do I know now that I didn’t know then?
Students, it is hoped that you will not restrict your reading to a minimum “requirement.” When you return to school in the fall, some of your discussions will focus on your reasons for choosing the “options” books you read: Do you simply love any book related to science fiction or fantasy? Do you love everything by a favorite author? Do you love any book that is related to a favorite topic such as sports or animals regardless of whether the book is a mystery, biography, or work of historical fiction? What kinds of books energize you? Get you thinking? Get you wondering? How can reading enrich and expand some essential part of your being?
As you are selecting titles for your personal summer reading list, we suggest you seek recommendations from teachers, mentors, parents, and friends. Why not peruse the library or a bookstore, taking your time to let a work speak to you? We encourage you to expand your horizons by venturing into new topics, genres, and authors.
While we encourage reading works of “literary merit,” the texts you read in the summer do not need to be “classics,” per se; they should be works (novels, plays, journals, poems, short stories, essays, etc.) that will enrich some aspect of your life, your learning, and your growth in a meaningful way.