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READALICIOUS! Books for Tweens

Dear Parents of Rising 6th Graders

Every June, I send home a letter for parents of my next year's class of 6th graders. On the first day of school, 2016, we'll have something to talk about, something in common, even if the tweens just do a few of these stay-sharp summer activities.

The reading list is at the core, a bit different each year and designed to provide a wide range of genres and levels—something to appeal to every kid.

Dear 6th Grade Parents,

I look forward to meeting everyone in the fall. In the meantime, here’s some information to digest over the summer.

First, a subject dear to my heart - literature! It is impossible to overstate the importance of reading. So, in 6th grade, as children’s author Gary Paulsen says, we will “read like a wolf eats.”

After all, it’s a great way to travel to some amazing places just by visiting the local library. Be sure to make reading a daily habit. Below are some books I strongly urge you to consider for your summer reading pleasure.

Bone Detective: The Story of Forensic Anthropologist Diane France, by Lorraine Jean Hopping (nonfiction, science)
Diane France loves bones. Why? Because they talk to her! Every skeleton she meets whispers secrets about the life—and death—of its owner. Diane France hears those secrets because she's a forensic anthropologist, a bone detective.

The Twits, by Roald Dahl (humor and revenge!)
Read about the shocking misadventures of two terrible old people who enjoy playing nasty tricks on each other and are outwitted by a family of monkeys known as the Muggle-Wumps. You’ll be laughing on the first page.

The Magician’s Nephew, by C.S. Lewis (fantasy)
Find out how this classic adventure begins! This first novel in the Chronicles of Narnia series explains the creation of Narnia by Aslan. Digory and Polly, two friends who, upon an accidental meeting with Magician wanna-be Uncle Andrew, find themselves in a head spinning adventure.

Woods Runner, by Gary Paulsen (historical fiction)
Samuel, a talented woodsman, returns home from a hunting trip to find the Revolutionary War has touched his life in a horrific way. His house is burned down and his parents are missing. He immediately sets out to track his parents across the countryside. You won’t be able to put it down.

Every Soul a Star, by Wendy Mass (realistic fiction)
Allly has grown up at Moon Shadow Campground and her family is gearing up for a once in a lifetime total solar eclipse. Jack flunked science and his teacher enlists him to go to Moon Shadow Campground as his assistant rather than attend summer school. Bree, the fashionista, grudgingly travels to the camp with her family. When the girls learn that their lives are about to be flipped upside-down and inside out, the three teens turn to each other for support.

Looking for quality family time? Share the above books with the whole family! No one's ever too old for a read aloud. For a little guidance with that, check out the website of Jim Trelease, who helps children make books into friends, not enemies.

Want to get your guy to read? There's a website for that, called Guys Read.

Author websites are fun for kids and adults to visit, including this one (the author site of my sister, Lorraine Jean Hopping). A few more of my favorites:

Raold Dahl
Chris Van Allsburg
Lois Lowry
Sharon Screech
Gary Paulsen

And now my second favorite topic – geography! Our textbook is Geography Alive! Regions and People. We’ll explore the tools of geography and spatial thinking and practice map skills throughout the year as we "travel" around the globe.

We will participate in a wide variety of learning activities, research, individual and group projects. I strongly encourage creativity in presenting information learned in class or through outside research. Get a start by fostering an interest and wonder in “all things geographic.” Below are a few ideas to consider this summer.

WHILE TRAVELING: If you travel, do some map reading! From the car, or the window of an airplane or train, point out differences in the geography, culture, and vegetation of places.

WHILE EATING OUT:If eating out is something your family enjoys, explore ethnic restaurants to get a “flavor” for other cultures. If restaurant dining isn’t in the budget, cook meals at home using recipes from various countries. One web site with very simple recipes is our own Catholic Relief Services.

MEDIA BLITZ: Pay attention to current events in the newspaper, online, on TV, or radio. Subscribe to a periodical such as National Geographic Kids or sign up for a free account at the National Geographic Kids' site).

WHILE ONLINE:On those rainy days, explore fun websites together such as:

Sheppard Software
Google Earth
National Geographic Bee

FIELD TRIPS: Visit a Metropark (there are 13 in Southeast Michigan!). They offer a variety of summer programs. There are opportunities for wildlife studies, nature walks, fishing, and history.

I’m glad that summer break is here, but am also excited about our upcoming school year! Have a Readalicious! vacation and feel free to contact me. I’d love to hear from you.

God Bless,

Ms. Hopping
Livonia St. Michael Teacher, 6th Grade

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