How to Survive your Summer Reading Assignments

By Kathy Peters, Director of Junior High Academics & Advising

1. START NOW! Do not put this off until the last minute. Resolve to read at least 20 pages a day, or for 20 minutes a day until you have finished. Make a daily reading plan or calendar and hang it on your bathroom mirror or refrigerator so you will see it every day.

2. If you really dislike reading here are some things to try:

  • Get an app like Audible and listen to the books you are required to read.
  • Partner up with a friend and read together.
  • Set a timer for 20 minutes; read, and then reward yourself with something you like after you finish. (favorite snack or drink, screen time or outside fun)
  • Start a literary circle or friendly competition with a group of friends. Meet at a fun place like Starbucks or the beach to read and discuss the books.
  • Ask a parent, grandparent or older sibling to read along with you.
  • Go online to look at reviews, summaries and videos before you start reading to help you understand what the required book or books will be about.

3. If you love to read and are a fast reader, you will likely gobble up any required books quickly, and have no trouble completing any additional or supplemental books. This is fine, but you will need to go back right before school starts and skim through the required books again as you review and take some detailed notes. It is wise for all of us to adjust our reading rate to a slower, steadier pace when we are reading material that we will be tested on or will have to write about.

4. Take notes! Write down names of important people and places, key points and main events as you read. Nonfiction required books are usually full of names, dates, places and details. If you own the book, underline and mark up the book as you go. I usually jot down page numbers of significant plot events on the last page of the book to refer back to. If you don’t own the book, make notes on paper as you go. Details are important and you will need supporting textual examples to respond to in class discussions, and on any written assessment about the book. Don’t worry about trivial things like the color of someone’s shirt. Note details that will support the ideas that you are developing about the main character, where the plot is going and how the author is using literary devices to keep you hooked and reading.

5. For fictional books, your notes should track significant developments in the plot, (what happened?) attributes or thoughts of the main character (how the character responds), and the use of literary devices to drive or develop the plot. (Examples of symbolism, foreshadowing, metaphor, etc.) Also, talk back to the book, and make note of your questions. Talk to your friends about the book. We all respond to literature in different ways and take away different things from what we are reading.

6. Be sure you can answer these questions about fictional books:

  • Setting: where/when does the book take place?
  • Main character (s): Protagonist (force for good) and antagonist  (force for evil)
  • Major plot events: big events that move the book forward
  • Main conflict in the story: between people? Forces in nature? With an animal, place or object?  Within the character’s own mind?
  • Climax or turning point in the book –peak of the action
  • Resolution- solution to the conflict or problem

7. Consider keeping a double entry journal that will help you recall details and support points you make if you are asked to write an essay. Here is a format to use:

Quote or fact from book Page number Your comment, thoughts or response
“After the stroke of midnight, all that the Prince could find that remained of the beautiful Cinderella was one glass slipper.” p. 11 Will he be able to use it to find her?

If it was really a glass slipper, why didn’t it break when it fell off?

Building materials: hay, straw, sticks, bricks p.14 Wolf lacked enough lung power to blow down the brick home

My HT Memories

The following piece is part of a five-week series on speeches given by Holy Trinity sixth graders at their Moving Up Ceremony. Read as our students look back at their experiences and memories at the Lower School and look ahead to new opportunities at the Upper School.

By Kaylie Johnson, Rising Seventh Grader

It’s hard to sum up Holy Trinity in just a few paragraphs, with its classes, teachers, students and my memories. However, I can sum up how I feel about Holy Trinity in these next four words, “I love Holy Trinity”.

Even though I only began attending HT in fourth grade, I have learned and changed so much since then. I will never forget my friends and teachers, or how Holy Trinity shaped me to be a better person. Next year I’m going to the Upper School, which is very exciting and new, and yet it’s still bitter-sweet to move up because I don’t want to leave the Lower School. I’m excited for the journey ahead, and though I have to leave, but I’m not saying good-bye. I’m saying “see you later.”

I came in the middle of fourth grade from another school, which I can tell you right now, wasn’t nearly as amazing as Holy Trinity. In fourth grade, I was always smiling and getting excited for social studies class because I liked learning about Florida’s history as well as getting to hear Mr. Gomez’s funny jokes and stories. Mr. Parker was my fourth grade science teacher, and I had a lot of fun when we built our rockets—we even launched them! In Mrs. Evan’s class we worked on writing in cursive. Some people dreaded it, but I liked having the opportunity to improve my cursive handwriting. Mrs. Evans always helped us to improve ourselves.

In fifth grade, my homeroom teacher was Mrs. Brockell. She livened up our English and writing class with her sayings, grammar songs and interesting writing topics. Mr. Hargraves made learning fun in social studies, from making vocabulary skits to letting us create movies on a topic or chapter. Mrs. Cotton made sure that we were understanding what we were reading and taught us how to relate to the characters in our books. All of these fifth grade homeroom teachers were and still are a blast, even in sixth grade, too.

In sixth grade I was assigned to Mrs. Boates’ homeroom. Mrs. Boates makes science a fun and engaging activity. She wants us to think, wonder, explore and be curious about science and the world around us. Mr. Parker works in a witty joke here and there to make learning social studies interesting and fun. Mrs. Fink always makes sure we understand our math and devotes her late-night time to grading so we can have our test grades by the next day. She also gives us time to come in early for math help.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.”
-George Bernard Shaw

I feel like, as this quote says, that I’ve been creating the kind of person I am at this school. Over these few years, I’ve become a more confident person, boosted my academics, made new friends and had moments that I will never forget. Holy Trinity has helped me in so many ways, and in return I say “thank you.”

My Experience at Holy Trinity

The following piece is part of a five-week series on speeches given by Holy Trinity sixth graders at their Moving Up Ceremony. Read as our students look back at their experiences and memories at the Lower School and look ahead to new opportunities at the Upper School.

By Aidan Johnson, Rising Seventh Grader

In my life, there are many things that make me feel blessed: my kind, supporting family and friends, and my skills, talents and dreams. I’m fortunate to have attended a wonderful school where everyone is welcoming and the teachers are very nice and excellent at what they do. Holy Trinity is the best school I’ve ever been to, and believe me, I’ve been to a lot of schools! At this special place, I’ve learned important virtues and values in life and have become a much wiser, kinder and mature individual. Summarizing my time at Holy Trinity is hard to do because I have so many good memories there.

I was halfway through fourth grade when I transferred to Holy Trinity. As I stepped into the gallery, I knew it was a great school. With smiles on their faces, Mrs. Hermann and Mrs. Benhase welcomed my sister and me and introduced us to our teachers. After my first day, I definitely wanted to stay at Holy Trinity. My happiest memories from my short fourth grade year include Mr. Gomez teaching us his fun lessons filled with humor that always made me smile, and how he gave each of us funny nicknames. I also remember enjoying Mr. Parker’s cool science experiments and learning the confusing math lesson that “a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not a square.” Fourth grade was a good year, despite being the shortest.

Next was fifth grade; there are even more memories from my second year at Holy Trinity. Since I would be having the same five teachers for two years, I was nervous to meet them. My homeroom teacher was Mrs. Brockell, and once I met her, I knew instantly she would be a good teacher! I felt the same with all of my teachers, and I was excited to start working with them. Since this was my first full year, I got to join Mrs. Dain’s Choir Club and be a part of many other activities throughout the year. My best memories from that year included when we went on our Pathfinders trip and participated in team-building activities. I also loved how the lessons we learned in social studies tied in with the books we read in reading class. Plus, we had the opportunity to reenact Valley Forge and Oregon Trail.  Fifth grade was definitely a great year!

Lastly, was my best year yet, sixth grade, where I grew the most of all! I had opportunities to develop in confidence and pursue my passion for writing. My teachers were always so supportive as I read my essays and gave the homilies in Chapel.

I would like to say how much I love everyone at Holy Trinity. My friends, teachers and others have been very kind and supportive. I’ve decided that I want to pursue my passion for writing and become an English teacher at this school. I hope to set an example that you can do anything as long as you follow your goals.

Even though I’m leaving the Lower School, I’m excited to begin the next chapter of my life at the Upper School, and continue to follow my dreams.


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