Dear Eighth Graders and Parents,

I am so looking forward to getting to know you all next year! Please note that the attached book list is only a suggestion and you may pick any books of your choosing. By affording more choice in their selections the hope is you will find reading more pleasurable while still staying connected with the reading and strategies learned throughout the year.

Mrs. Goff

Students are encouraged to make book selections in consultation with their parents/guardians. Although students may choose ANY book, please find some suggestions for students entering Grade 8 (below).

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Ironman, by Chris Crutcher
While training for a triathlon, seventeen-year-old Bo attends an anger management group at school, which leads him to examine his relationship with his father.

The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke
Two orphaned brothers, Prosper and Bo, have run away to Venice, Italy, where crumbling canals and misty alleyways shelter a secret community of street urchins. The leader of this motley crew of lost children is a clever, charming boy with a dark history of his own. He calls himself the "Thief Lord".

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman
Nobody Owens is a normal boy, except that he has been raised by ghosts and other denizens of the graveyard.

Tunnels by Roderick Gordon
When Will Burrows and his friend Chester embark on a quest to find Will's archaeologist father, who has inexplicably disappeared, they are led to a labyrinthine world underneath London. This world is full of sinister inhabitants with evil intentions toward "Topsoilers" like Will and his father.


This year’s summer reading assignment is to read at least two books and to record notes for one of those books in the form of a “Double-Entry Journal” (an example is attached). This year, the Double-Entry Journal notes may be completed on a book of fiction or a book of nonfiction.

The Double-Entry Journal will demonstrate the students’ thinking about the texts and serve as important prewriting for the first assignment of the marking period. In particular, when students enter the classroom in September, they will work on sharing a book review on the text. The Double-Entry Journal notes and book review will account for a quiz grade in the students’ first marking period grade.

To be clear, the students only need to bring their completed Double-Entry Journal to the first day of school. The book review will be completed after the school year begins with support me.

The following checklist was created to support the completion of the Double-Entry Journal:
_____ On a separate paper, create a two-column chart for one summer reading book of fiction or nonfiction.
_____ Label the left-hand column as “Citation.”
_____ Cite three quoted passages that seem significant to the book’s central idea, the author’s message, or a situation in the text. Citations may be dialogue or regular prose.
_____ Include at least one citation from the beginning, one citation from the middle, and one citation from the end of the text. Make sure to include the page number references.
_____ Label the right-hand column “Significance.”
_____ Record thoughts or reactions to those citations in the right-hand column. For example, explain, in your own words, the importance of each citation as it relates to a theme, main idea, or situation.
_____ Try to show a meaningful response by explaining your thoughts about the importance of the citation, your connections to the citation (text-to-self, text-to-text, or text-to-world), or your questions about the quote (what does the quote make you wonder about?).




 “They walked back to the road. Dorothy helped him over the fence, and they started along the path of yellow brick for the Emerald City” (Baum 10).

[Please note that the citation is in quotes. Although it is possible to cite dialogue, one can also cite regular prose that does not record what a character is saying. In any case, the citation 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, was in search of the City of Emeralds, she comes across a scarecrow. Earlier in this chapter, Dorothy noticed Scarecrow blink his eye. That’s when she discovered the Scarecrow was alive. Soon after, Dorothy helps Scarecrow down from his perch, and Scarecrow explains (to Dorothy) that 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 wants 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 that struggle to provide food, shelter, and education to their population. I’m grateful that I do not face the struggles from Scarecrow’s story or the real-life lack of educational opportunities of many poor children throughout the world.

Quote from the middle of the book


Quote from the end of the book


 An additional resource for the Double-Entry Journal can be found at:




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