• Reading

    Below is a list of great books for eighth grade students. My expectations for all students is that they read for a minimum of thirty minutes every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Students are quizzed every day on the reading they needed to complete.

       Students will read books that are challenging. As the teacher, I will assign each student a book to read that is matched to his or her current Lexile score in reading. This will ensure that each student is challenged at his or her appropriate level. The aim is to raise all reading levels to 1100 by the end of the school year. Students are encouraged to read as much as possible. To check that the book is appropriate and challenging, you can go to www.lexile.com. For the eighth grade, students are expected to read books that fall in the Lexile range of 900 to 1300. By the end of the school year, the goal is to have every student reading comfortably above the 1100 range.

       Parents, you can check your child's reading level by having him or her read out loud to you. If he or she reads the text with 96% accuracy, and you can hear that he or she is reading with meaning, then the book is at the appropriate level. If you find that your child has a low Lexile level, don't force him or her to read at a level fifty points or higher as this will frustrate him or her. However, let them read at the level they are currently challenged by, only, increase the amount of time spent reading. Then slowly introduce books with slightly higher Lexile levels to get your child up to speed with his or her peers. 
     
    Lexile Scores  
     

    Most libraries should have these books, but if you would like to build your own reading library at home, I suggest you view sites like www.amazon.com and www.alibris.com when buying books.

     

    Benedict Arnold
     
    Bom
     
    Charles and Emma
     
    Code Name Verity
     
    Hurricane Dancers
     
    Janis Joplin
     
    Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
     
    Moonbird
     
    Sold
     
    Steve Jobs
     
    The Queen of Water  
     
    Under the Mesquite
     
    War Dances  
     
    We've Got a Job  
     
     
     

    April Morning

    Howard Fast

    Lexile score: 1050L

    When you read this novel about April 19, 1775, you will see the British redcoats marching in a solid column through your town. Your hands will be sweating and you will shake a little as you grip your musket because never have you shot with the aim of killing a man. But you will shoot, and shoot again and again while your shoulder aches from your musket's kick and the tight, disciplined red column bleeds and wavers and breaks and you begin to shout at the top of your lungs because you are there, at the birth of freedom—you're a veteran of the Battle of Lexington, and you've helped whip the King's best soldiers...

     

    Beyond the Burning Time

    by Kathryn Lasky

    Lexile score: 970L

    They say something very strange is happening to some of the people of Salem. That some of the young girls have become ... troubled. And the fear is beginning to spread. Mary and her mother don't hear about the rumors right away. They don't know that many of the villagers believe that some of Mary's friends have had spells cast on them -- by witches. Or that one of the accused is Mary's mother. Now Mary and her brother, Caleb, have a decision to make: Are the villagers right? Or is their mother innocent? And if she is -- can they help her escape before it's too late?

     

    Boris

    by Cynthia Rylant

    Lexile score: NP

    Boris is a big gray cat who loves sleeping and playing and exploring and hunting. And his owner loves him for all of his simple cat ways.But Boris, typical as he may be, is part of a much larger story in this moving exploration of love, longing, compassion, and most of all, the continuous give-and-take of companionship.Newbery medalist Cynthia Rylant's powerful collection of poems is sure to find its place in the hearts of readers of all ages, especially those who have been lucky enough to experience the many joys and hardships that come with true friendship.

     

    Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, 101 Stories of Life, Love and Learning
    by Jack Canfield (ed.), Mark Victor Hansen (ed.), Kimberly Kirberger (ed.)

    Lexile score: 930L

    This carefully formulated collection of stories guides teenagers through one of the most difficult periods in life, offering invaluable advice on the nature of friendship and love, the importance of belief in the future, the value of respect for oneself and others, and more -- all delivered with compassion and humor. Also recommended: Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul II.

     

    Code Orange

    Caroline Cooney

    Lexile score: 850L

    Walking around New York City was what Mitty Blake did best. He loved the city, and even after 9/11, he always felt safe. Mitty was a carefree guy–he didn’t worry about terrorists or blackouts or grades or anything, which is why he was late getting started on his Advanced Bio report.
    Mitty does feel a little pressure to hand something in–if he doesn’t, he’ll be switched out of Advanced Bio, which would be unfortunate since Olivia’s in Advanced Bio. So he considers it good luck when he finds some old medical books in his family’s weekend house that focus on something he could write about. But when he discovers an old envelope with two scabs in one of the books, the report is no longer about the grade–it’s about life and death. His own.

    This edge-of-your-seat thriller will leave you breathless.

     

    Guys Write for Guys Read

    by Jon Scieszka

    Lexile score: 920L

    What is a typical guy moment, anyhow? Daniel Pinkwater remembers the disappointment of meeting his Lone Star Ranger hero up close and personal. Gordon Korman relishes the goofy ultra violence of the old Looney Tunes cartoons. Stephen King realizes that having your two hundred- pound babysitter fart on your five-year-old head prepares you for any literary criticism. And that's just a sampling from Guys Write for Guys Read, a fast-paced, high energy collection of short works: stories, essays, columns, cartoons, anecdotes, and artwork by today's most popular writers and illustrators. Guys Write will feature work from Brian Jacques, Jerry Spinelli, Chris Crutcher, Mo Willems, Chris Van Allsburg, Matt Groening, Neil Gaiman, the editors and columnists from Sports Illustrated,The Onion and Esquire magazines, and more. Selected by voters at the Guys Read Web site and compiled by Jon Scieszka, this wide-ranging collection of authors and illustrators shows that guys do read . . . and will read more if given things they enjoy reading.

     

    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

    by J. K. Rowling

    Lexile score: 880L

    The paperback edition of the legendary, record-breaking, best-selling fourth Harry Potter novel. Harry Potter is midway through his training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup. He wants to find out about the mysterious event that's supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn't happened for a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he's not normal - even by wizarding standards. And in his case, different can be deadly.

     

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    by J. K. Rowling

    Lexile score: 880L

    During his third year at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter must confront the devious and dangerous wizard responsible for his parents' deaths.

     

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

    by J. K. Rowling

    Lexile score: 880L

    After 10 miserable years with his aunt and uncle, Harry Potter is invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Each book follows another year in Harry's education while more of his frightening destiny is revealed.

     

    The Hobbit

    by J. R. R. Tolkien

    Lexile score: 1000L

    Whisked away from his comfortable, unambitious life in his hobbit-hole in Bag End by Gandalf the wizard and a company of dwarves, Bilbo Baggins finds himself caught up in a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Although quite reluctant to take part in this quest, Bilbo surprises even himself by his resourcefulness and his skill as a burglar! Written for J.R.R. Tolkien's own children, The Hobbit met with instant success when published in 1937 and has remained a timeless classic.


    Locked in Time

    Lois Duncan

    Lexile score: 990L

    It doesn't occur to Nore to take the dream-warning seriously. Her new stepmother and stepbrother seem nice. But why does Nore feel so uneasy around them?

     


    The Moon and I

    Betsy Byars

    Lexile score: 870L

    The Moon that inspires Betsy Byars's memoir isn't the one in the sky, but a huge, harmless blacksnake she finds in the rafters of her porch. This meeting begins an exploration of the writing process. With energy, wit, and delight, the Newbery medalist shows how "the good scraps" of her life, from a bully named Bubba to a gift-wrapped dime, weave into her work.

     

    Out of the Dust
    by Karen Hesse

    No Lexile score

    In a series of free verse poems, 15-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Great Depression. Powerful and moving, this Newbery Medal winner effectively depicts both a bleak historical era and one family's healing.

     

    The Princess Diaries
    by Meg Cabot

    Lexile score: 920L

    She's just a New York City girl living with her artist mom... News Flash: Dad is prince of Genovia. (So that's why a limo meets her at the airport!) Downer: Dad can't have any more kids. (So no heir to the throne.) Shock of the Century: Like it or not, Mia Thermopolis is prime princess material. Mia must take princess lessons from her dreaded grandmére, the dowager princess of Genovia, who thinks Mia has a thing or two to learn before she steps up to the throne. Well, her father can lecture her until he's royal-blue in the face about her princessly duty--no way is she moving to Genovia and leaving Manhattan behind. But what's a girl to do when her name is Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo?

     

    Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind

    by Suzanne Fisher Staples

    Lexile score: 970L

    When 11-year-old Shabanu, the daughter of a nomad in the Cholistan Desert of present-day Pakistan, is pledged in marriage to an older man whose money will bring prestige to the family, she must either accept the decision, as is the custom, or risk the consequences of defying her father's wishes.

     

     To Kill a Mockingbird
    by Harper Lee

    Lexile score: 870L

    "Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." That is a lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel -- a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man's struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

     

    Up From Jericho Tel

    E.L. Konigsburg

    Lexile score: 910L

    Long before there was Dolly the sheep, Jeanmarie Troxell dubbed the look-alike, think-alike girls in her school "clones" and decided she wanted nothing to do with them. That's how Jeanmarie forms an unlikely friendship with another outsider, Malcolm Soo, over an equally unlikely activity -- burying dead animals at the remote spot they name Jericho Tel.

    It's at Jericho Tel that Jeanmarie and Malcolm encounter Tallulah, a famous actress who happens to be dead -- although not too dead to send them on a magical quest to find out who stole the famous Regina Stone. But their search leads Jeanmarie and Malcolm to something far more valuable than a missing diamond -- adventure, friendship, and self-knowledge.

     

    The View from Saturday

    By E.L. Konigsburg

    Lexile score: 870L

    HOW HAD MRS. OLINSKI CHOSEN her sixth-grade Academic Bowl team? She had a number of answers. But were any of them true? How had she really chosen Noah and Nadia and Ethan and Julian? And why did they make such a good team?

    It was a surprise to a lot of people when Mrs. Olinski's team won the sixth-grade Academic Bowl contest at Epiphany Middle School. It was an even bigger surprise when they beat the seventh grade and the eighth grade, too. And when they went on to even greater victories, everyone began to ask: How did it happen?

    It happened at least partly because Noah had been the best man (quite by accident) at the wedding of Ethan's grandmother and Nadia's grandfather. It happened because Nadia discovered that she could not let a lot of baby turtles die. It happened when Ethan could not let Julian face disaster alone. And it happened because Julian valued something important in himself and saw in the other three something he also valued.

     

    The Wednesday Wars

    Gary D. Schmidt

    Lexile score: 990L

    Gary D. Schmidt offers an unforgettable antihero in THE WEDNESDAY WARS—a wonderfully witty and compelling novel about a teenage boy’s mishaps and adventures over the course of the 1967–68 school year.
    Meet Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader at Camillo Junior High, who must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, while the rest of the class has religious instruction. Mrs. Baker doesn’t like Holling—he’s sure of it. Why else would she make him read the plays of William Shakespeare outside class? But everyone has bigger things to worry about, like Vietnam. His father wants Holling and his sister to be on their best behavior: the success of his business depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to contend with? A bully demanding cream puffs; angry rats; and a baseball hero signing autographs the very same night Holling has to appear in a play in yellow tights! As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds Motivation—the Big M—in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his destiny, in spite of himself.

     

    Where the Lilies Bloom

    by Vera Cleaver, Bill Cleaver

    Lexile score: 920L

    Mary Call has true Appalachian grit. When her dying father makes her promise to keep her brother and sisters together forever on the mountain and take no help from strangers, she is determined to keep her word -- no matter what. At first Mary Call is sure she can run the family just fine on her own. Romey and Ima Dean help her gather herbs to sell in town, using the riches of the mountains to keep the family clothed and fed. But winter sets in all too quickly. As food runs low, and the tiny house begins to cave in under the weight of the snow, Mary Call learns that the land where the lilies bloom is also a cruel and unforgiving land that deems a price for her stubborn pride.