Reading during the summer months can feel like more school work than recreation to our older kids. That makes encouraging our tweens to read a more difficult task than it is with our younger readers. Despite this possible road block, summer reading is an important key to help avoid summer slide(loss of knowledge over the summer months). By reading throughout the summer, they build new vocabulary, reinforce previous history lessons, and travel to far away places all from the comfort of a bedroom or a backyard swing!
Here are some middle school book suggestions that will hopefully get your tween reading this summer. Please note that every child’s reading level varies, so some selections will be harder or easier and all books should be screened by a parent.
If your child is truly reluctant to read, you may want to start off reading the book out loud until your child is hooked into the story. Then turn it over for indpendent reading.
Middle School Summer Reading List
The Candy Makers by Wendy Mass This is a story told from 4 different perspectives —4 child contestants in a candy creating contest. Will the Candymaker’s son win, or will one of the other children find a more tasty confection?
Wonder by R.J Palacio is another story told from multiple perspectives. In Wonder, a boy named August Pullman has a facial difference that until 5th grade kept him out of mainstream school.
The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick is a series of books that centers around the life of four girls (Emma, Jess, Cassidy, and Megan) who become best friends because their mothers decide to start a book club.
39 Clues is a series of adventure novels written by a collaboration of authors. They chronicle the adventures of two siblings, Amy and Dan Cahill, who discover that their family has been the most influential family in history.
My Side of the Mountain is a Newberry Honor book that combines recipes, drawing, diary entries and narration to create a story about 15 year old Sam Gribley. Sam runs away and lives off the land. You will find lots survival skills in use in this novel.
Al Capone Does My Shirts - A Tale from Alcatraz by Gennifer Choldenko 12 year old Moose moves to Alcatraz in 1935 so his father can work as a prison guard and his younger sister can attend a special school in San Francisco. It is a time when the prison is home to notorious criminals like Al Capone. The unique setting and in-depth characters make this a most interesting historical fiction to read. (There are two others in this series.)
[A Horse and His Boy is a title in our 5th grade read alouds.] The Chronicles of Narnia 7 book series by C.S. Lewis is considered classic children’s literature. Set in the relm of Narnia, a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals, the series is about various children who play central roles in the world of Narnia. The books span from the creation to the eventual destruction of Narnia.
Anne of Green Gables is a series of 8 books written by Lucy Maud Montgomery. It recounts the life of Anne Shirley, an 11 year old orphan girl who is mistakenly sent to Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. The books follow Anne’s life into adulthood.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan is the first in a series of 5 books based on greek mythology that follow a fictional Percy Jackson across the United States to recover Zeus’s lightning-bolt.
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer is a series of 8 science fiction fantasy novels featuring a teenage criminal mastermind named Artemis. Artemis captures Holly Short, who is a Fairy and a captain of the LEPRecon. But these are not the fairies of bedtime stories; these fairies are armed and dangerous.
Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson is based on rare archival material, obscure trial manuscripts, and interviews with relatives of the conspirators and the manhunters. It is a fast-paced thriller about the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth (Lincoln’s assassinator), a wild twelve-day chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia.
Middle School book series by James Patterson features Rafe Khatchadorian who starts out as an awkward 6th grader in the first book. It follows him as he copes with the awkwardness of adolescence with things like crushes, bullying, and family issues. He tries to break every school rule to collect the most points any student’s ever been given.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgeson Burnett is a tale of a lonely orphan girl named Mary. She is sent to a Yorkshire mansion at the edge of a vast and lonely moor. She soon finds friendship with a boy named Dickon who has the trust of the moor’s animals, an invalid Colin who is unhappy and terrified of life, and they encounter a mysterious abandoned garden.
The Books of Elsewhere by Jacqueline West When 11 year old Olive and her parents move into the crumbling mansion on Linden Street and find it filled with mysterious paintings, Olive knows the place is creepy. But it isn’t until she encounters its three talking cats that she realizes there’s something darkly magical afoot. Then Olive finds a pair of antique spectacles in a dusty drawer and discovers the most peculiar thing yet: She can travel inside the house’s spooky paintings to a world that’s strangely quiet and sinister. (There are 5 books in this series.)
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls tells the tale of Billy Coleman and his quest to have Redbone coon hounds of his own. Billy goes to great lengths to get and train his two dogs; Old Dan and Little Ann. What does this threesome team turn into?
Holes by Louis Sachar is about Stanley Yelnats, a boy sent to a boy’s detention center where the boys spend all day building character by digging holes. It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine At her birth, Ella of Frell was given a foolish fairy's gift—the "gift" of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, whether it's hopping on one foot for a day or chopping off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not tamely accept her fate. She goes on a quest, encountering ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, fairy godmothers, and handsome princes, determined to break the curse and to live happily ever after.
A Series of Unfortunate Events is Lemony Snicket’s 13 books series which follows the turbulent lives of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire after their parents' death in a fire. The children are placed in the custody of their relative Count Olaf, who attempts to steal their inheritance. After the Baudelaires are removed from his care by their parents' estate executor, Mr. Poe, Olaf begins to doggedly hunt the children down, bringing about the slaughter and demise of various characters. The Baudelaires are placed in the care of various relatives and organisations before they are forced to go on the run after Olaf frames them for murder. Along their journey, they uncover various secrets about an organisation known as "V.F.D."
[This is a title from our 8th grade readers.]The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is a timeless classic about Tom Sawyer and his boyish pranks set in nineteenth century rural America.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, winner of a Newberry medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O'Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg's father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.
About the Author
Heidi Ciravola has been married to her husband for over seventeen years. Together they have three children with whom they began their homeschooling journey with in 2006 when their oldest was beginning second grade. Heidi is a mother, taxi service, and homeschool parent by day and an avid reader and homeschool blogger whenever there is time left over. You can visit Heidi at her blog Starts at Eight where she blogs about homeschool products and unit studies, homeschool organization and general tips, and homeschooling high school, as well as many book reviews, lists, and unit studies.