Summer Reading 2014

By providing a clear and engaging summer reading expectation, BSEA hopes to promote a meaningful, literacy-rich experience for all students. Our aim is to keep students connected to reading habits and comprehension skills that were practiced throughout the school year. Ultimately, our goal is to inspire the development of life-long readers.


Students are required to read at least two books over the summer. At least one of the selections must be a non-fiction book. Students must complete one “Two-Column Chart” (explained below) for each of the two summer reading selections.
These reading notes (using the Two-Column Chart to organize the student writing) will demonstrate the students’ thinking about the texts and serve as important prewriting for the first major assignment of the marking period. When students enter the classroom in September, teachers and students will work together to transform the summer reading notes into a literary analysis essay. In particular, over the course of the first marking period, teachers will work with their new students to participate in “Letters about Literature,” a national reading promotion by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. For more information on this initiative, please see the following web site:

Although we offer suggested book lists, students are free to choose any summer reading books. By affording students choice in their book selections and keeping the assignment short yet significant, we hope that students find their reading pleasurable while staying connected with reading processes and employing the strategies that they learned throughout the school year. Students may purchase their own books or borrow books from the public library. In the end, we encourage the student to choose his/her summer reading books as research suggests that students become more engaged when they select their own books.

Angela DeFilippis
Principal, IA

Directions for a Two-Column Chart (AKA Double-Entry Journal)

On separate paper, create a two-column chart for each of your two summer reading books (one must be non-fiction). In the left-hand column, cite some important lines from the text. In the right-hand column, record reactions to those citations. Please find detailed directions below:
  • Label the left-hand column “Citation” and the right-hand column “Significance.”
  • In the left-hand column, list no fewer than 4 and no more than 6 quoted passages that you found significant to the book’s central idea or author’s message. These passages may include descriptions of specific characters, persons, events, images or places; citations may be dialogue or regular text. Citations must include page number references. Please include at least one citation from the beginning, middle, and end of the text.
  • In the right-hand column, explain, in your own words, the importance of each citation as it relates to a theme or main idea of the book. Try to show a thoughtful response by explaining your thoughts about the importance of the citation, your connections to the citation (text-to-text or text-to-world), or your questions about the quote (what does the quote make you wonder about?).
  • The more analytical/critical your explanation, the better. Don’t just summarize the cited material.
To complete this assignment, you may wish to use Post-its, mark up the text, or record notes on a separate piece of paper while reading. Ultimately, you will complete and submit your two-column chart to your ELA teacher next year. Each two-column chart will be graded. Moreover, the two-column chart will serve as a piece of prewriting for a major writing assignment in the first marking period.

Example of a quote and a reaction from Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz



But I do not want people to call me a fool, and if my head stays stuffed with straw instead of with brains, as yours is, how am I ever to know anything?” (Baum 26).


[Please note that the citation is in quotes.  It should appear exactly as it appears in the text.  Furthermore, the citation is followed by a parenthetical citation that includes the author’s last name and the page number. We’ll review MLA citation style in class, but do your best to follow this format over the summer.]

When Dorothy, the main character, meets Scarecrow, she helps him down from his perch.  In the citation, Scarecrow explains (to Dorothy) that he doesn’t mind having a body stuffed with straw because he cannot get hurt.  However, he fears living with a head filled with straw because he feels he will never know anything.  Scarecrow joins Dorothy’s quest to go to the Emerald City because Scarecrow desires the capacity to possess knowledge.  It seems like all the characters are on a search for something they feel they need to be better or to be happy.  When I think about the Scarecrow’s mission, it makes me wonder if I sometimes take my ability to think and learn for granted.  In Social Studies class, I learned about third world countries such as Ethiopia that struggle to provide food, shelter, and education to their population.  I’m grateful for my opportunity to read, write, and learn in school on a daily basis because I do not face the struggles from Scarecrow’s story or the real-life lack of educational opportunities of children in third world countries.

Angela DeFilippis,
Jul 29, 2014, 3:28 PM