Navigating Your Child's Education: Grades 6-8

6 min read

Hot Summer Reads for Middle Schoolers

Jun 18, 2019 9:35 AM

Let's be honest: reading a good book is probably not at the top of your middle schooler's summer priorities. From outdoor play to summer camps and activities to screentime , summer reading can get lost in the shuffle. Nonetheless, it is important for continued development of literacy skills, expanded vocabulary, creativity cultivation and success in the coming academic year. 

Not only does summer reading provide expansive academic benefits, it can also earn your middle schooler free stuff! There are several location library systems that have great summer reading programs. By registering and tracking reading, people of all ages (Pre-K to adults) are eligible for free food, books, and more! See the links below for more details.

The key to encouraging your middle schooler to read this summer is to find what interests them.

We've consulted local middle school language arts experts and here are their recommendations of the best summer reading for middle schoolers:

Screen Shot 2019-06-13 at 12.30.55 PMLove Does by Bob Goff - Great for eighth grade students, both boys and girls will enjoy this book! Goff, the founder and president of "Love Does," a non-profit committed to fighting injustices against children, unpacks his conviction that "love takes action" in this autobiographical collection of stories. Students and families alike will enjoy Bob's whimsical tales of his adventures with his family and friends around the world. Read this book together for the opportunity to discuss how Bob approaches his relationship with God, and to connect the Bible stories he references. (Find discussion question ideas at 

Screen Shot 2019-06-13 at 12.32.27 PMHoles by Louis Sachar - Boys and girls in grades six through eight may enjoy Holes, the story of a wrongly convicted boy who finds himself at a juvenile detention facility, digging holes each day alongside an eclectic cast of characters. The friendships and character development will keep students engaged as a mystery unfolds. Your student can ponder: Who has ultimate control over our lives? Do we have ultimate control over our own lives and destinies? Spark a conversation about your own family history as your student learns about the Yelnats family history. Talk with your child about the friends that Stanley makes throughout the story - consider how characters treat one another. 

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 The School Story by Andrew Clements - Likely well-suited for sixth or seventh grade ladies, this novel is a middle school favorite! Can a twelve-year-old publisher's daughter get her school story published with the help of her determined "agent" and friend? Natalie's determination and collaboration with her friend, Zoe, will keep readers turning pages for the story's resolution. Written by a former teacher, Andrew Clements, this school story is an enchanting, pleasant read. If you've got a budding author in the family, The School Story would be a fun summer read.

Screen Shot 2019-06-13 at 12.37.06 PMThe Trailblazers Series by various authors - Students in grades six through eight can glean important truths, lessons, and inspiration from the stories of Christians such as Elisabeth Elliott, D.L. Moody, Charles Spurgeon, Joni Eareckson Tada, and more. Reading biographies and autobiographies can promote self-discovery, and can also encourage students to consider how their own life stories can ultimately reflect and glorify Christ! Students can also learn about important milestones in Christian history through the lives of Christ followers who came before them. Specifically, the Trailblazers series would be of an achievable reading level for many middle school students.

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Screen Shot 2019-06-13 at 12.39.29 PMEcho by Pam Munoz Ryan - Oftentimes we read a book that shares the life of individuals in a limited time period and with a limited group of characters influencing each other. Echo includes a different twist. It is a novel which tells the stories of four different characters in much different time periods. An enchanted harmonica travels through different hands from an ancient land to the troubling times where Nazism is rising in Germany, from the Great Depression to the internment of the Japanese Americans. The harmonica provides individual courage and allows each person to change the trajectory of their lives in different ways. Only at the end of novel do we get a glimpse of how the stories are all related and intertwined. The novel provides a powerful image of how we are all intertwined with those in our past and our future. It is a great read for both guys or girls in sixth-eighth grades.

Screen Shot 2019-06-13 at 12.42.11 PMLand of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer - Alex and Conner are twins who have lost their father and are grieving his loss when their grandmother gives them a fairy tale book that changes their lives. As they accidentally enter the book, they are transformed into another land where fairy tale stories are real. They learn more about their father than they knew when he was alive. And they become part of the stories of the land as they learn their true identity. It’s adventure at every turn for both guys or girls especially in sixth and seventh grades.

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 9.15.24 AMDo Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Law by Alex and Brett Harris - Written by teen twins Alex and Brett, this book addresses the notion that teens in our culture today are limited in their potential and offers five ways for teens to engage for personal and social change. Drawing from biblical insights and personal experiences, the Harris twins challenge teens to see adolescence differently. This would be a great book to read together as a family.

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 9.26.01 AMThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey - Written by son of best-selling author Stephen Covey, this book applies the principles of the 7 habits to teens in dealing with self image, interactions with parents, resisting peer pressure, achieving goals and more. This would be another great book to read together as a family.

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 9.32.20 AMAll of the Above by award-winning Ohio author Shelley Pearsall - This book tells the story of a group of students who are challenged by their discouraged math teacher to create an after-school math club.  Based on a true story of students from Alexander Hamilton Middle School in urban Cleveland, these students set a goal of creating the world’s largest tetrahedron.  (Don’t know what a tetrahedron is or how to make one?  The book tells you how.)  Each student as well as the teacher has a back story that reveals why they are in the situation they are in, but as their project grows, so does their understanding of themselves and others.

Local Summer Reading Programs:

Worthington Christian School
Written by Worthington Christian School

Founded in 1973, Worthington Christian School (WC) is central Ohio’s leader in Christian education offering a rigorous, college preparatory kindergarten to 12-grade academic program, dedicated to developing the mind of Christ in students through rigorous intellectual, creative, and physical pursuits.