School is over for the year, and that means summer reading! One of my favorite parts of the end of the school year is the day I get to present the summer reading books to all of my present and future students after so much building of anticipation. As the titles are revealed, we admire the glossy covers, read over the backs, and inhale the new-book smell, eager for the fun of summer to begin.

Building a community of enthusiastic readers is one of my most important jobs as a Middle School English teacher. Teaching is full of daily and long-term joys, but pairing a student with a book that he or she could fall in love with is one of the greatest. Through curricular units, book talks, independent reading projects, bulletin boards, and a diverse classroom library, I strive to create a nurturing environment where students feel comfortable reading, discussing, and writing about stories that matter. Reading opens eyes, broadens worlds, invites questions, induces laughter, creates tears, and makes us understand ourselves and each other a little better. Reading has no judgment. It opens its arms to anyone willing to fall into its embrace.

Summer reading is the way we begin the following academic year’s curriculum, but it is also a way we bring students and faculty together with a shared purpose. I can’t wait to get together with my students and fellow teachers for our circle discussions about these books and others that have impacted our lives over the summer. Until then, though, these are the books that I personally can’t wait to read this summer: “American Street” by Ibi Zoboi, “The Power” by Naomi Alderman, “The Serpent King” by Jeff Zentner, and “Caraval” by Stephanie Garber.

What are you reading?

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