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Pre AP Summer Reading 2017: Grade 6

Dear Students,

How delighted we are to have you in our Pre AP English/Language Arts program! We are looking forward to an enjoyable and successful 2017-2018 school year. As you are aware, reading is a skill that must be exercised, and the more we read, the better readers we become. During the summer, it is important for students to be engaged readers, and the Pre AP summer reading assignment is a requirement of students enrolled in Pre AP ELA courses in Tomball ISD.
Below you will find a list of books that your campus has chosen for the summer reading assignment. Students shall select a book from this list to read during the summer. Upon returning to school in the fall, students will be engaged in inquiry circles with classmates who selected the same book. In order to be prepared to discuss the book in such a setting, students must read the book through a critical lens, make note of questions raised while reading, and be prepared to share insights and original observations discovered while reading.
We realize that changes do occur during the summer, and sometimes students find themselves switching schools due to a recent move. Should you find that you will be attending a different Tomball ISD school, please check with that campus for their reading list, as that campus may have a different reading list than what appears on this page. That information can also be located at
Required Text: You are expected to read one of the following novels and complete the assignment.
Edward Bloor (2006)
Paul Fisher sees the world from behind glasses so thick he looks like a bug-eyed alien. But he’s not so blind that he can’t see there are some very unusual things about his family’s new home in Tangerine County, Florida. Where else does a sinkhole swallow the local school, fire burn underground for years, and lightning strike at the same time every day?
The chaos is compounded by constant harassment from his football–star brother, and adjusting to life in Tangerine isn’t easy for Paul—until he joins the soccer team at his middle school. With the help of his new teammates, Paul begins to discover what lies beneath the surface of his strange new hometown. And he also gains the courage to face up to some secrets his family has been keeping from him for far too long.
Freak the Mighty
Rodman Philbrick (2013)
A brilliant, emotionally charged novel about two boys. One is a slow learner, too large for his age, and the other is a tiny, disabled genius. The two pair up to create one formidable human force known as “Freak the Mighty”. MAX. FREAK. BEST. FRIENDS. FOREVER. I never had a brain until Freak came along…That’s what Max thought. All his life he’d been called stupid. Dumb. Slow. It didn’t help that his body seemed to be growing faster than his mind. It didn’t help that people were afraid of him. So Max learned how to be alone. At least until Freak came along. Freak was weird, too. He had a little body, and a really big brain. Together Max and Freak were unstoppable. Together, they were Freak the Mighty.
The following ideas are suggested in order to help students engage in active reading:
In his essay “How to Mark a Book,” Mortimer Adler explains that reading is a “conversation between you and the author.”
Adler writes: “Why is marking up a book indispensable to reading? First, it keeps you awake. (And I don’t mean merely conscious; I mean awake.) In the second place, reading, if it is active, is thinking, and thinking tends to express itself in words, spoken or written. The marked book is usually the thought-through book. Finally, writing helps you remember the thoughts you had, or the thoughts the author expressed.”
“There are all kinds of devices for marking a book intelligently and fruitfully. Here’s the way I do it:
● Underlining (or highlighting): of major points, of important or forceful statements
● Vertical lines at the margin: to emphasize a statement already underlined
● Star, asterisk, or other doo-dad at the margin: to be used sparingly, to emphasize the ten or twenty most important statements in the book (You may want to fold the bottom corner of each page on which you use such marks. It won't hurt the sturdy paper on which most modern books are printed, and you will be able take the book off the shelf at any time and, by opening it at the folded-corner page, refresh your recollection of the book.)
● Numbers of other pages in the margin: to indicate where else in the book the author made points relevant to the point marked; to tie up the ideas in a book, which, though they may be separated by many pages, belong together
● Circling or highlighting of key words or phrases
● Writing in the margin, or at the top or bottom of the page, for the sake of: recording questions (and perhaps answers) which a passage raised in your mind; reducing a complicated discussion to a simple statement; recording the sequence of major points through the book
If marking your book is not a possibility, there are some other options:
● You can use sticky notes. Place these on the pages/paragraphs where you would underline or highlight and write out your thoughts or ideas on the note.
● Write out notes on paper and keep the paper inside the book. Include page numbers with comments/notations so that you will remember what prompted your thinking.
Tomball ISD endorses a summer reading program for all students enrolled in advanced English courses grades 6-12. The selections on the summer reading list have been chosen to encourage the enjoyment of reading and to prepare students for the study of literature. All students registered for Pre-AP, AP, or Dual Credit courses are required to read specific books. Students will be involved in inquiry circles and other skill-building assignments during the first few weeks of the school year. These activities will comprise the first major grade of the school year.
Should any questions arise, please contact:
Hope Durham, 6th grade ELA Department Chairperson
Dr. Katie Atkins, Director of Secondary ELA/Social Studies
(281) 357-3100 ext. 2094