Teen Summer Reading

For eighth grades students, who are ready to take the plunge into high school, choosing some quality summer reading to be ready for school in the fall is essential.  While reading just for fun is important, students should also try to slip in a little reading that may have some deeper literary meaning too.

To give the student a well-rounded reading experience, it is important to read something from all types of genres.


Even before the student attempts reading the books, an important daily task is to read the newspapers.  Whether it is the local home town paper or reading national newspapers online, developing background with current world events is essential for success in high school.  Teachers often want students to write about topics that are in the news, so the better informed a student is about the issues the better prepared the student is for high school.


Although poetry might not be on the top of the list for many high school students to read over the summer, poetry is actually superb for students to read for many reasons. Poetry sharpens students’ language skills and sense of word choice while at the same time providing concentrated examples of many literary elements.  Select an anthology that has a variety of poets exemplified or another great way to experience poetry is online.  Poets.org has a multitude of poetry that student can read over the summer, as well as having audio and visual clips related to the poems.  Experiencing poetry is a great way for students to improve their reading comprehension before heading into high school.

Classic novels

If a student really wants to jump a step ahead of the rest of the class, read some of the classic novels that are commonly taught in high school. That way when the student comes across a class that studies that literary work, the student will be ahead of the students that have yet to read it.  Some common classic novels for high school students include:  To Kill a Mockingbird, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Scarlet Letter, A Separate Peace, or The Lord of the Flies.  Any major works by American giants, Twain, Fitzgerald, Hemmingway, or Steinbeck will always provide a student with a good literary background before heading into high school.


Having a little exposure to drama before going into high school can provide a student with some background in dramatic structure and the elements of plot.  While reading Shakespeare may seem a little out of a student’s league for independent reading, in can be a worthwhile experience.  Reading Shakespeare’s plays can enhance vocabulary and reading comprehension.  There are plentiful resources online that can help a person with understanding Shakespeare.  If Shakespeare seems like an unlikely pairing, consider reading a play by Chekov.  These are often short one act classics that can be read and understood in a short amount of time.


Non-fiction can really prepare students for high school reading.  Consider that most of a student’s reading will be completed in history, science and other content area classes. By reading some non-fiction it will prepare students for high school reading. Some good books to read include Undaunted Courage (Lewis and Clark) or It Was Never about a Hotdog and a Coke (1960’s segregation),

Contemporary Fiction

Reading anything is better than reading nothing, and summer is all about reading something for entertainment. Consider selecting some current fiction for some enjoyable summer reading too. A new release that teens might like is The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan or


Before entering high school students should read at least one book that gives some guiding principles for how to conduct themselves in high school and all the stress that they may incur during this time in their lives. Consider Jack Canfield and Kent Healy as a a good example that will help teens see high school as just a stepping stone to their dreams.  Another good example is the Secret to Teen Power by Paul Harrington.


Believe it or not select one or two teen cookbooks.  Teenagers tend to get busy with school activities and homework and often don’t eat as healthy as they should.  A couple good books include: Rozanne Gold and Phil Mansfield. With busy lives teens may not always have someone to cook for them and will resort to fast food.  These two books will help teens learn to cook for themselves.


Consider reading biographies.  It is through reading about the lives of others that teens often learn about life and how to deal with adversity.  For the sport love a good biography might be Chris Volkmann and Toren Volkmann.

There is a wealth of opportunities for reading over the summer before heading to high school.  It can be for personal growth or personal enjoyment. Whichever the case, reading is important to fit into the schedule whenever a teen can manage it.