Dear Lower School students and families,
Summer offers us opportunities to spend extra time with our family and friends, try new activities, and relax. But, whether I am at the pool, the beach, or curled up on my couch during a thunderstorm, my favorite part of summer is the opportunity to read, read, read! To help you find the perfect books, Ms. Schwartz has compiled a list of summer reading suggestions for you here and on the website.
Please know that these are simply suggestions, as we encourage you to read whatever interests you. This year, we are also excited for you to play Book Bingo! Please follow the directions on the sheet and remember to include a journal entry for each Book Bingo book you read! When you return in the fall, your teachers, Ms. Schwartz, and I will be eager to hear about your reading adventures and book recommendations!
If you had a chance to make a wish, what would you wish for? Would you make the wish for yourself or for someone else? And what would you do if you held the wishes of a whole community? I am excited to announce our Lower School summer reading book is Wishtree by Katherine Applegate! In this story you will meet Red, a red oak tree that is many rings old, the community wishtree, and the narrator of the story. Red is also a home for many lively and funny animals! Over many years, Red has watched the neighborhood change and has many stories to tell. But now, a new family has moved in, and Red’s many experiences will need to be called upon to help the family!
This story offers you the chance to meet many intriguing and unlikely characters. To really get to know all of the characters and unlock the magic and themes of this story, I recommend reading this book more than once. Although you may prefer to read this book on your own, I also encourage you to read it aloud with your parents, siblings, or friends! Reread the story many times throughout the summer. Although there is no required school work to be done while reading this book, we have included some questions to help you think about the themes and ideas presented in this story.
I wish you a wonderful summer savoring some delicious books!
Lower School Director
Discussion Questions for Katherine Applegate’s Wishtree
Discuss Red’s comment: “Making others feel safe is a fine way to spend your days”. How does the tree make others feel safe? What does this comment tell you about the personality of the tree?
Who was your favorite character? What did you like about the character?
Discuss Red’s question, “How does friendship happen?”. Why do you think Red and Bongo are friends? What qualities do you look for in a friend? Why is it hard for Samar and Stephen to become friends?
Why do you think the animals are so comfortable with Samar? What qualities of her nature make animals trust her? Why do these qualities make it harder for her to connect with other children?
Describe the boy who carves a word in the tree. What does the author tell you about him and what assumptions can you make about his character? Why do you think he would carve that word into the tree?
Red says of Samar’s family, “Their words held new music.” What do you think that means?
Red says they (Samar, as well as the tree) need to “stand tall and reach deep.” What does that mean to you? Have you ever had to “stand tall and reach deep?”
Discuss Red’s statement: “I wanted to make a difference, just a little difference, before I left this lovely world”. What difference does Red make? What do you think you can do to make a difference in this world?