A New Summer Reading and Learning Plan

June 11, 2020

This spring the Humanities Department spent time thinking, discussing, and establishing a new summer reading and learning plan.

The Translator is a summer reading option for ninth grade
The Translator, by Daoud Hari is one of the reading options for incoming ninth-graders.

First, it is important to note that this is the first year we are a joint department (English and history) and, in order to be more collaborative in our thinking, we are sharing the summer learning work. As a combined department, we talked a lot about the purpose of summer work for students.

We came to a consensus that reading, watching and listening, thinking, and maybe even writing over the summer is important for three reasons. This work is crucial for:

  • keeping students engaged,
  • retaining developing skills,
  • and preparing students to return from summer break ready to participate fully in the curriculum together.

He Named Me Malala is a documentary option for incoming ninth-graders


The Summer Reading and Learning Plan has three important parts.

the Dirtbag Diaries is a podcast option for both 9th- and twelfth graders
the Dirtbag Diaries is a podcast option for both ninth- and twelfth-graders.

First, it is organized by grade level with additional resources provided for Advanced Placement courses. Second, at each grade level, there are essential questions that will be further explored in both English and history classes throughout the school year. Finally, there is choice built into the resources to provide equity and access to all students and learners.

Students are asked to read one of the listed books and to access two of the podcasts or documentaries. The discussion questions and resources are connected to a theme for each grade level (9th grade-Immersion, 10th grade-Expression, 11th grade-Awareness, and 12th grade-Independence), which then carries into their work in Seminar and on Four Point.

The work the Humanities Department did this spring (led by Teaching Librarian Sara Shifrin) is intentional with an acknowledgment that access to resources might be more challenging than ever for our students and that engaging with content in various forms is crucial for a differentiated teaching approach.

summer reading for all employees - Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You is being read by all Gould employees this summer

Faculty and Staff Summer Reading

Faculty and Staff will also be reading this summer. All employees will be reading Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, which is also one of the two books at the 11th-grade level. It is important that we as a community embrace the 11th-grade theme of awareness and our individual roles in our communities and in society.

Faculty also have a choice of reading one of three additional books: One Trusted Adult by Brooklyn Raney, Thanks For the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen, or Powerful Teaching, Unleash the Science of Learning by Pooja K. Agarwal and Patrice M. Bain.

Please join the discussion in the comments below.


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