Upper El Summer Reading 2019-2020

ECMCS Upper Elementary Summer Reading 2019- 2020 School Year

All rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders must complete two Summer Reading assignments.

Assignment #1: Social Justice Novel Study

Choose 1 book from the table below and complete the written assignment that supports your book choice.  Book choices and writing assignments differ based upon grade level. Students will begin the school year in a social justice socratic seminar based upon their book choice. Students will use their writing assignment to guide the peer-to-peer novel discussion. Parents may want to guide the book selection process as content varies widely. All books were reviewed and approved by teachers and parent volunteers at ECMCS. Here are some helpful websites to go to and look up further information on each book.

Assignment #2: Genre Challenge

Students read as much as possible from a variety of genres and record their reading on the Genre Challenge Form. This is similar to a summer reading log and meant to encourage students to read with variety and enthusiasm.


**If the lexile is out of range, we recommend using a book on tape or reading the book aloud as a family.

Rising 4th years - Choose 1

Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French

Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

350 pages

300 pages

244 pages

700 Lexile

740 Lexile

970 Lexile

Rising 5th year

(choose 1)

The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Inside Out & Back Again  by Thanhha Lai

176 Pages

350 pages

218 pages

225 pages

630 Lexile

700 Lexile

750 Lexile

800 Lexile

Rising 6th year

(choose 1)

The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Same Sun Here  by Silas House and Neela Vaswani

Refugee  by Alan Gratz

Echo by Kate Pavao

Return To Sender by Julia Alvarez (**parent permission suggested due to some content**)

176 pages

218 pages

297 pages

352 pages

592 pages

318 pages

630 Lexile

750 Lexile

890 Lexile

800 Lexile

680 Lexile

890 Lexile

Social Justice Novel Study Writing Assignment

Format: You may either type your assignment or write it in cursive or print, very neatly in pencil. If typing, please use 12 point font, double spaced, and Times Roman or Arial font.

Due Date: August 23, 2019 (3rd day of school). Both assignments will be given language grades during the first marking period.

Rising 4th Years:

Write a letter to the author of your book. Pick a story element to focus on, then choose 1-2 questions from that story element to answer in your letter. Give your opinion and find examples from the book that help explain why you feel that way.

Story Elements

Question Choices


Character Development

Do you agree with the main character’s actions or decisions in the book?

Would you have made the same choices as the main character when presented with the problem?

Does the main character learn anything about themselves, or change their beliefs by the end of the novel?

“I did/did not agree with _____’s choices in the book.”

 “If I could be in the story, I would have done….”

“By the end of the book, _____ changed their point of view on _____.”

Support your answer with 2-3 examples from the book.


 How was the problem in your novel solved and do you feel it was a fair solution?

Why do you think the author wrote this book?

 “The story ended with _______. I felt that it was fair/unfair because…”

“This book was written because the author wanted children to __________.”

Support your answer with 2-3 examples from the book.

Rising 5th & 6th Years:

After choosing and reading your book, select a question from the list. Write an essay using text evidence to answer the question and support your answer. These questions will be used to facilitate a peer-to-peer group discussion at the start of the school year:

One Crazy Summer

  • Do you believe the girls eventually got what they needed from their mother? Support your answer with evidence from the book.

  • The Black Panthers were working to help end racial discrimination. Do you think their actions were helpful?  Use text evidence to support your answer.

  • After learning about Cecile’s story from her perspective and Delphine’s, do you think Cecile made the right decisions for her family? Use evidence from the book to support your answer.

Operation Redwood

  • Julian does things he knows are wrong for the “right reasons.” Is it ok to do something wrong if you believe it will change things for the better? Use examples from the text to support your answer.

  • Robin and Danny like the chaos in Big Tree Grove and Julian and Ariel think it’s better with just the four of them. What do you think should happen to Big Tree Grove after reading? Support your choice with text evidence.

The Breadwinner

  •  Parvana’s mother and sister have been inside for over a year. How did being confined indoors change them both physically and mentally? Use examples from the novel.

  • At the end of the story, Parvana and an old man are looking at a wilted flower. The man says, The roots are good. When the time is right, these roots will support plants that are healthy and strong.” Explain how this statement could be about the country Afghanistan itself. Use evidence from the text to support your answer.

  •  Do you think Parvana made the right choices provide for her family? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.

Return to Sender

  • Is it ever okay to break the law? Use examples from the novel to support your opinion.

  • Was the Cruz family treated fairly? Use evidence to support your opinion.

  • Migrant workers are discussed from two perspectives in the novel, Mari and Tyler’s. Which perspective do you agree with and what actions would you take to create change after reading Return to Sender? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.


  • The three main characters all face difficult challenges. In your opinion, which was the most difficult? Use examples from the novel to support your answer.

  •  Discuss the meaning of the midwife’s prophecy in the tale: “Your fate is not yet sealed. Even in the darkest night, a star will shine, a bell will chime, a path will be revealed.” How does this prophecy apply to the lives of Friedrich, Mike, and Ivy, as well as to Otto and the sisters in the tale? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.

  • How do the characters find strength in music throughout the story? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.

Inside Out & Back Again

  • Ha’s mother gives the advice, “At times you have to fight, but preferably not with your fists.” Do you feel that is good advice? Use examples from the text to support your answer.

  • Choosing between leaving your war torn country and starting completely anew is a difficult decision. Ha writes, “No one would believe me, but at times I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama.” In your opinion, which is better? Use text examples to support your choice.

  • The family’s opinion of Father changes throughout the book, what was your opinion of Father and his choices? Use evidence from the book to support your choice.

Same Sun Here

  • Mountaintop Removal is a type of mining discussed in the book. River’s family and community members have different opinions. Do you think Mountaintop Removal is the right choice for the community? Use evidence to support your answer.

  • Meena and River discuss nonviolent protests to make changes. Were their efforts successful and do you think nonviolent protest is an important right for all? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.

  • River’s grandmother discusses how the media only reports on environmental issues when there is a disaster. Do you agree or disagree with her opinion? How could the media help highlight environmental problems in other ways? Use text evidence to support your opinion.


  • Which refugee story did you feel was the most difficult? Use examples to support your opinion.

  • How does the theme of sacrifice play a role in all three refugee stories? Support with evidence.

  • Would being invisible as a refugee be a benefit, or a curse? Support with evidence from the text.

Part II: Upper Elementary Summer Reading Assignment

Genre Challenge Form

Name: __________________________

Your challenge is to read as many books in as many different categories as possible and record it on this log.  If you discover a genre that isn't listed, add it on the back!








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Below are some optional titles for the genre challenge:

Rising 4th Graders:

Title of Book Author

The City of Ember Jeanne DuPrau

Out of My Mind Sharon M. Draper

The Candymakers Wendy Mass

KaKapo Rescue Sy Montgomery

The Thing About Georgie Lisa Graff

Dream of Night Heather Henson

Eleven Patricia Reilly Giff

Pie Sarah Weeks

Project Mulberry Linda Sue Park

Wildfire Run Dee Garretson

The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman Meg Wolitzer

Dancing Home Alma Flor Ada

One and Only Ivan Katherine Applegate

Vanished Sheela Chari

The Name of This Book is Secret Pseudonymous Bosch

A book from In the Forest series Art Collins

Rising 5th Graders:

Title of Book Author

Turtle in Paradise Jennifer L. Holm

Mango-Shaped Space Wendy Mass

Weedflower Cynthia Kadohata

Anything But Typical Nora Raleigh Baskin

The Game of Silence Louise Erdrich

The Potato Chip Puzzles Winston Breen

Umbrella Summer Lisa Graff

Star in the Forest Laura Resau

Sources of Light Margaret McMullan

Slob Ellen Potter

Ravenmaster’s Secret Elvira Woodruff

Faith, Hope, and Ivy June Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Four Perfect Pebbles Lila Perl and Marion Blumenthal Lazan

Ninth Ward Jewell Parker Rhodes

Gingersnap Patricia Reilly Giff

Orphan of Ellis Island Elvira Woodruff

90 Miles to Havana Enrique Flores Galbis

Green Glass Sea Ellen Klages

The Whole Story of the Half Girl Veera Hiranandani

The Other Half of My Heart Sundee Tucker Frazier

Matilda Bone Karen Cushman

Duke Kirby Larson

Rising 6th Graders:

Title of Book Author

Touching Spirit Bear Ben Mikaelsen

The Same Stuff as Stars Katherine Patterson

Honey Sarah Weeks

Beneath My Mother’s Feet Amjed Qamar

All the Broken Pieces Ann E. Burg

Every Soul A Star Wendy Mass

Freedom’s Children Ellen Levine

42 Miles Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

The Year of Goodbyes Debbie Levy

A Friendship for Today Patricia C. McKissack

Countdown Deborah Wiles

Starry River of the Sky Grace Lin

A Tangle of Knots Lisa Graff

Streams to River, River to the Sea Scott O’Dell

Project Sweet Life Brent Hartinger

Titanic: Unsinkable Gordan Korman

Moon Over Manifest Clare Vanderpool

The Pharaoh’s Secret Marissa Moss

The Lions of Little Rock Kristen Levine

Woodsrunner Gary Paulsen

Shooting Kabul N.H. Senzai

Saving Sky Diane Stanley

Katherine Called Birdy Karen Cushman

Farewell to Manzanar Jeanne and James D. Houston

A book from In the Forest series Art Collins

Caminar Skila Brown

Counting by 7’s Holly Goldberg Sloan

Courage Has No Color: Tanya Lee Stone
The True Story of the Triple Nickles

Sophia’s War Avi

Catch a Falling Star Kim Culberston


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