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At St. John's, good knows no bounds. It's greater than great academics. Here are snapshots of what it means at the Prep. Something amazing happens when you're open to good!


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Summer's Coming. What to Read?

During the school year, students dive into books that are carefully selected by teachers to illuminate a topic, provide a mirror to examine their own experiences, or open a window into an unfamiliar world. When the warm summer months roll around, however, there are so many good options that it can be hard to decide. But for English teacher Jay Pawlyk, one of the best parts about summer reading is choice.

“Summer is an opportunity to wander around libraries and bookstores and choose titles that teachers might not necessarily assign,” he says. “If you’re interested in gaming or fantasy or Civil War history, you can explore those topics. You have control over your imaginative life, you have choice.”

One good book can spark a genuine passion for reading, he says. “It really only takes a single book that you love to open up the possibility of loving any other book. You’re more likely to have that experience over the summer when you can choose something you’re passionate about.”

Reading during the long days of summer not only lets us explore topics and genres that might hold a special interest, but there’s a practical benefit as well. Pawlyk points out that just like playing a sport or an instrument, reading is a skill that takes practice. “Thinking about and reading books over the summer,whatever they might be, makes coming back to school in the fall a less abrupt shift,” he says.

So, what should you read? We asked Mr. Pawlyk and Middle School English teacher Mrs. Monica Roy for their recommendations. Enjoy!

Mr. Pawlyk's Picks for Middle School

  • “Freak the Mighty” by Rodman Philbrick
  • “The Lightning Thief” (and anything in the The Percy Jackson series) by Rick Riordan
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society series beginning with The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Mr. Pawlyk's Picks for High School

  • “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safron Foer
  • “All the Light You Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr
  • “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak

Mr. Pawlyk's Picks for Parents

  • “White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga
  • “The Sympathizer” by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • “Empire Falls” by Richard Russo

Mrs. Roy’s students compiled a list of recommendations, books tried and tested by her students themselves!

Grade 6 Top Picks

  • “The Time Keeper” by Mitch Albom
  • “The Friendship War” by Andrew Clements
  • “The House Girl: A Novel” by Tara Conklin
  • “Girl in the Blue Coat” by Monica Hene
  • “The Curious Garden” by Peter Brown

Grade 7 Top Picks

  • “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins
  • “The Giver” by Lois Lowery
  • “Drums, Girls, And Dangerous Pie” by Jordan Sonnenblick
  • “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins
  • “Divergent” by Veronica Roth

Grade 8 Top Picks

  • “Out of The Dust” by Karen Hesse
  • “Sold” by Patricia McCormick
  • “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton
  • “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
Posted by Mr. Chad Konecky on Wednesday May, 22

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