• 8th Grade Summer Reading


    Dear Entering 8th Grade Students, Parents, and Guardians,

    In East Ramapo we consider reading the foundation for all other learning. Therefore, our first priority must be for all of our children to become good readers and to instill in them a lifelong love of reading. Each student will receive a recommended list of authors and a Summer Reading Assignment.

    All students are expected to participate in the summer assignment of reading at least two books. Students are to choose one of the following books Code Talker: A novel about the Navajo Marines of WWII by Joseph Bruchac and/or Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes.

    For the second book, students are asked to choose a book from the recommended list of authors. All books from the required list reflect the NYS Common Core Curriculum; the topic of each required reading reflects units that will be taught during the 8th grade school year.

    During the second week of school, all students will write essays in English class about the books they read over the summer. Below you will find the assignment and attached you will find the required and suggested lists, along with very helpful active reading strategies. Your child should complete and bring the following assignment on the first day of school:

    Summer Reading Assignment:

    Read one of the books below:

    Code Talker: A novel about the Navajo Marines of WWII by Joseph Bruchac


     Johnny Tremain by Estehr Forbes


    Read 2 Books from the Suggested Title or Author Lists.

    Take notes on both books you have read

    Create an Outline of the major events for each book, refer to attached outline suggestions

    Creating good readers requires a collaborative partnership between families and schools. We are asking parents to become partners in this effort by providing time for their children to read every day and to make sure that the summer reading is completed.

    Have a nice summer, and we look forward to seeing you in the fall.



    Book 1

    Code Talker: A novel about the Navajo Marines of WWII by Joseph Bruchac. After being taught in a boarding school run by whites that Navajo is a useless language, Ned Begay and other Navajo men are recruited by the Marines to become Code Talkers, sending messages during World War II in their native tongue.

     and/or  Johnny Tremain by Estehr Forbes. The Year: 1773. The place: Boston. Johnny Tremain is fourteen and apprenticed to a silversmith. He is gifted and lords his skills over the other apprentices, until one day his hand is horribly burned by molten silver. Johnny’s dreams of silversmithing are over. A depressed Johnny finds work as a dispatch rider for the Committee of Public Safety, a job that brings him in touch with Boston patriots—and the excitement that will lead to the Tea Party and the Battle of Lexington.

    Book 2


    Bad Boy is a memoir by Walter Dean Meyers. As a boy, Walter was quick-tempered and physically strong, always ready for a fight. He also read voraciously-he would check out books from the library and carry them home, hidden in brown paper bags in order to avoid other boys' teasing. He aspired to be a writer. But growing up in a poor family in Harlem, his hope for a successful future diminished as he came to realize fully the class and racial struggles that surrounded him.

    Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition by Karen Blumenthal. Worried about the effects of alcohol on American families, mothers and civic leaders started a movement to outlaw drinking in public places. Over time, their protests, petitions, and activism paid off—when a Constitutional Amendment banning the sale and consumption of alcohol was ratified, it was hailed as the end of public drunkenness, alcoholism, and a host of other social ills related to booze. Instead, it began a decade of lawlessness, when children smuggled (and drank) illegal alcohol, the most upright citizens casually broke the law, and a host of notorious gangsters entered the public eye.

    Down These Mean Streetsis a is a memoir by Piri Thomas, a Latino of Cuban descent who grew up in El Barrio (aka Spanish Harlem), a section of Harlem that has a large Puerto Rican population. The book follows Piri as he goes through the first few decades of his life, lives in poverty, joins and fights with street gangs, faces racism suffers through addiction, gets involved in crime, and ends up in prison.

    Black Boy (1945) is an autobiography by Richard Wright. The author explores his childhood and race relations in the South. Wright eventually moves to Chicago, where he establishes his writing career and becomes involved with the Communist Party.

    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou describes her coming of age as a precocious but insecure black girl in the American South during the 1930s and subsequently in California during the 1940s. Maya’s parents get a divorce when she is only three years old and ship Maya and her older brother, Bailey, to live with their paternal grandmother, Annie Henderson, in rural Stamps, Arkansas. Annie, whom they call Momma, runs the only store in the black section of Stamps and becomes the central moral figure in Maya’s childhood.

    Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board is the amazing story of Bethany Hamilton, the thirteen-year-old surfer girl who lost her arm in a shark attack but never lost her faith -- and of her triumphant return to competitive surfing.

    My Thirteenth Winter: A Memoir by Samantha Abeel is a beautiful and chilling memoir, twenty-five-year-old Samantha Abeel describes her struggles with a math-related learning disability, and how it forced her to find inner strength and courage. Samantha Abeel couldn't tell time, remember her locker combination, or count out change at a checkout counter -- and she was in seventh grade. For a straight-A student like Samantha, problems like these made no sense. She dreaded school, and began having anxiety attacks. In her thirteenth winter, she found the courage to confront her problems -- and was diagnosed with a learning disability. Slowly, Samantha's life began to change again. She discovered that she was stronger than she'd ever thought possible -- and that sometimes, when things look bleakest, hope is closer than you think.


    The Pact by Jenkins, Davis and Hunt –As teenagers from a rough part of Newark, New Jersey, Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt, and George Jenkins had nothing-special going for them except loving mothers (one of whom was a drug user) and above-average intelligence. They were busy staying out of trouble (most of the time), and discovering the usual ways to skip class and do as little schoolwork as possible. A pact was made: they would help each other through. None of them would be allowed to drop out and be reabsorbed by the Newark streets.

    My Life With the Chimpanzee by Jane Goodall- From the time she was a girl, Jane Goodall dreamed of a life spent working with animals. Finally she had her wish. When she was twenty-six years old, she ventured into the forests of Africa to observe chimpanzees in the wild. On her expeditions she braved the dangers with leopards and lions in the African bush. And she got to know an amazing group of wild chimpanzees -- intelligent animals whose lives, in work and play and family relationships, bear a surprising resemblance to our own.


    When I Was Puerto Rican: A Memoir by Esmeralda Santiago- Esmeralda Santiago's story begins in rural Puerto Rico, where her childhood was full of both tenderness and domestic strife, tropical sounds and sights as well as poverty. Growing up, she learned the proper way to eat a guava, the sound of tree frogs in the mango groves at night, the taste of the delectable sausage called morcilla, and the formula for ushering a dead baby's soul to heaven. As she enters school we see the clash, both hilarious and fierce, of Puerto Rican and Yankee culture. When her mother, Mami, a force of nature, takes off to New York with her seven, soon to be eleven children, Esmeralda, the oldest, must learn new rules, a new language, and eventually take on a new identity. In this first volume of her much-praised, bestselling trilogy, Santiago brilliantly recreates the idyllic landscape and tumultuous family life of her earliest years and her tremendous journey from the barrio to Brooklyn, from translating for her mother at the welfare office to high honors at Harvard.


    (You are not limited to these authors)

    Louisa Alcott

    Laurie Halse Anderson

    Julia Alvarez

    Meg Cabot

    Deb Caletti

    Sandra Cisneros

    Suzanne Collins

    Caroline B. Cooney

    Sharon Creech

    Christopher Paul Curtis

    Karen Cushman

    Edwidge Danticat

    Sarah Dessen

    Arthur Conan Doyle

    Sharon Draper

    Sharon Flake

    Virginia Hamilton

    S.E. Hinton

    Pittacus Lore

    Lois Lowry

    Harry Mazer

    Walter Dean Myers

    Christopher Paolini

    James Patterson

    Gary Paulsen

    JK Rowling

    Orson Scott Card

    William Sleater

    Gary Soto

    Armstrong Sperry

    Jerry Spinelli

    Mildred Taylor

    Frances Temple

    JR Tolkien

    Mark Twain

    Cynthia Voight

    Elie Weisel

    Jacqueline Woodson

    Laurence Yep

    Jane Yolen


    Visualize ~Predict ~Connect  ~Respond


    Question Ask yourself pre-reading questions


    Make text connections: Text-to-text; Text-to-self; Text-to-world


    Question the author’s writing style; author’s message; author’s purpose


    Take notes: Main events (plot); character development; theme; setting, etc.


    What do you see while reading?


    Make predictions: What will happen next?


    Respond to literature: What did you think of the story? How did you feel? What mood was created?



    Information that should be included in outline

    Factual Information

    Dates and places the person was born and raised

    A physical description of them

    A list of their character traits

    What kind of person were they?

    What helped them become successful?

    What were their accomplishments and how did they overcome them?


    How did they change the world?

    Why was their contribution to society important?

    What is the most impressive thing about them?


    Why was a book written about them?

    How do we benefit today from them?

    How have you been inspired by them?

    In what ways would you like to be like them?

    What further information should have been included in the book?

    Sample Fictional Book Outline


    • Explain what the book is about (Brief Summary)
    • Major events in the book
    • Rise in Action
    • Climax
    • Fall in Action


    • Describe the major and minor conflicts of the book
    • Describe some things that happened as the characters tried to solve the problems
    • What the final outcome of the book
    • Evaluate the ending of the book


    • Describe the setting
    • How does the setting impact the characters
    • The effect of setting on events


    • Describe the main character
    • Who are the Antagonist and protagonist
    • Who are some other important people in the book