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Summer Reading: Learn and Prep for the New School Year

girl reading under a tree

Indianapolis Public Library’s 2017 Summer Reading Program, Read it and Eat, is one fun way to learn, win prizes like Colts tickets, practical gifts like college savings accounts and give back via Gleaners Food Bank donations. But whether in a formal program like this or one you create, summer reading can help you get a jump start on fall classes, regardless of your grade. What should you read? We compiled some recommendations from Indiana’s Department of Education.

Reading outside of school makes you, well, smarter–it is linked to stronger academic performance. You gain much more than the enjoyment of a good story by reading, you also learn story structure, grammar, vocabulary, interpretation, knowledge and writing skills during the process. The practice of reading could even boost standardized test scores, including the SAT, ACT, and AP Exams.

Prioritizing your list will allow you make the best use of reading time. For example, you’ll be better able to gain deeper insights during classroom analysis if you familiarize yourself with the story now. The knowledge you gain could result in higher quality papers and better test grades. To start, check reading lists recommended by:

  • Your current school
  • Requirements for specialized programs like Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate
  • Reading lists from your local library or education publications like Scholastic or FastWeb

Here’s a breakdown of suggestions from high school to grade school:   

High School

The Princess Bride by William Goldman
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
The Aeneid by Virgil
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Middle School

The Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keys
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Grade School

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Peterson
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew (series) by Carolyn Keene
Freckle Juice by Judy Blume
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes
Ramona (series) by Beverly Cleary
Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Scieszka
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
Cat in the Hat by Theodor Geisel
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Brown

Interested in structured learning during the summer? Achieve Virtual offers summer school–online. We are also currently accepting Fall 2017 enrollment for online high school. Classes are taught by certified Indiana educators and accredited by the state’s Department of Education. It’s a flexible way to learn. Find out more!

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