MS Summer Reading

Welcome to summer 2019! As you enjoy your vacation, we want to help guide your reading and thinking. This information explains the requirements for summer reading, so that you will be prepared for your English class when you come back to school in the fall.

You are responsible for obtaining your own copy of the required book listed below unless otherwise noted - plus the summer reading group choice book. You should have read a total of five (5) new books by the first day of school in September. Keep a written list of the books you read and hand it to your English teacher when you return to school. We expect you to be very familiar with the required book because your teacher will want to discuss them with you.

1. Required Grade Level Reading

  • English 7: Park, Linda Sue A Long Walk to Water ISBN-13: 978-0547577319
  • English 8: Hinton, S. E. The Outsiders ISBN 978-0-14-240733-2 *annotated, see below 

2. Required Choice Reading

Each student will have one required group reading book of their choice. You will receive your daughter's Choice Reading book title prior to the start of summer and book group which will meet for discussion in the fall.

3. Free Reading

Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy reading! Please choose an additional three (3) of your choice. Suggested reading can be found here.


*The Outsiders

Author Background: Susan Eloise Hinton was born in 1950 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Outsiders was published in 1967, when Hinton was only 17 years old. She began writing the first draft of the novel when she was 15, and writing and rewriting took a year and a half before she was happy with the final copy. The publisher — believing that the book would have more credibility if people assumed that a male had written it — advised her to use her initials. S. E. Hinton was not a member of a gang when she wrote The Outsiders, but she was a friend to many greasers. Although she also had friends who were Socs, she did not consider herself a part of that group.

Brief plot synopsis: The Outsiders is about 2 weeks in the life of a 14-year-old boy. The novel tells the story of Ponyboy Curtis and his struggles with right and wrong in a society in which he believes that he is an outsider. Ponyboy and his two brothers have recently lost their parents in an automobile accident. The boys are greasers, a class term that refers to the young men on the East Side, the poor side of town. The greasers' rivals are the Socs, short for Socials, who are the "West-side rich kids."

Summer reading annotation directions: As you read The Outsiders please answer the following questions by noting the textual evidence within your book with a pen or pencil. You should NOT respond to the questions in sentence form. When we discuss the novel next fall, refer to your annotations to enrich conversation and demonstrate your understanding of the story. Your teacher will also collect your book to see how well you annotate. Please be sparing and thoughtful in your annotations.

Answer the following questions with textual evidence:

1. What are the differences between the greasers and the Socs? (Consider clothing, transportation, hairstyles, reputation in the community, music, families, location in town)

2. Trace how S.E. Hinton develops the following characters throughout the novel: Ponyboy, Sodapop, Darry, Dally, Johnny, Cherry, and Bob.

3. What is the message or lesson of The Outsiders? Find passages that help to advance the theme. Consider why we read this book in English class.

4. What does this book teach us about innocence? Follow-up questions to discuss in class: What are all the different symbols of innocence? What are some ways that the characters seem to act that are not “innocent” or age-appropriate? How do we know that Johnny was still “gold” to the end of his life? Do you think Ponyboy is still “gold” at the end of the book?

5. What seems to be the novel’s message about arts, literature, and education? How do they affect our lives, according to Ponyboy?