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Rethinking Reading

""Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them"

-Judy Blume

Summertime presents the opportunity for rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation.  It is also the ideal time to support the literacy skills of our students while fostering a community of readers in our schools and, hopefully, creating a lifelong habit of reading. Research shows that reading the stories of others, whether fictional or biographical, helps readers become more empathetic human beings, aware of the world around them.


Author and teacher Donalyn Miller, who wrote The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child, identifies three behaviors of successful, lifelong readers:

  • They dedicate time to reading on a daily basis

  • They successfully self-select reading material

  • They share books and reading with other readers

With those three important tenets in mind, the Toms River Regional Schools 2024 summer reading program in grades 6-12 has been designed.


The goal of our summer reading program is to assist students in developing an independent reading life--to foster an interest in and ability to choose books that meet their individual interests and needs. We believe our program will contribute to a school-wide culture of reading, which, in turn, will increase students’ reading volume and stamina. We hope that students become curious and empathetic young adults who strive to effect change in the world around them.

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Welcome to Summer 2024!

EXTRA CREDIT OPPORTUNITY! To receive extra credit on a first marking period English class assessment, students may choose to do the following:

PART I: Commit time to read

The United States Department of Education suggests that students should read for 30 minutes or more each day. This summer, students should select their own reading and aim to read for a minimum of 30 minutes each day.

As needed, recommended titles are provided below:

  • Access teacher recommendations for students entering grades 6-8 here

  • Access the Ocean County Library (OCL) recommended book list here

  • Access 2024 OCL book recommendation videos via their YouTube channel here

Access digital application for a library card here.

If parents/guardians or students are concerned about appropriateness: Search titles for suitability

PART II: Keep a reading log

  • Students will be expected to submit a "reading log" listing any and all books read over the summer

  • A "reading log" is a list of books read; it can be a simple, student-made, list of the book title(s) read by the student over the summer months

  • Here is a sample "reading log"

PART III: Present or record a book talk

  • Depending on grade level, students will present a book talk within the first few days of the school year. Students who prefer to record their book talk on their iPhone or other recording device may do so, but to complete this option, students must email their recorded book talk to their teacher on the first day of school.

  • Students in grades 6-8 will discuss at least one book.

  • Students in grades 9-12 who are taking a College Prep OR General Studies English course will discuss at least one book.

  • Students in grades 9-12 who are taking an Honors English course will discuss at least two books (this would be two separate recordings for those students electing to record videos of their book talks).

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 How will the EXTRA CREDIT be awarded?

Students who complete the summer reading assignment in its entirety will be awarded extra credit on a first marking period assessment (number of extra credit points is awarded at the teacher's discretion). Both a reading log as well as a book talk (in person or recorded) must be completed and submitted for extra credit to be awarded. HS Honors students are expected to complete two book talks to receive the full amount of extra credit.

Click here for the reading log and book talk rubric

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"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."

Joseph Addison

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Christy Downs, English Supervisor, Grades 6-12

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