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05 Jun

Cal Middle School – ELA Summer Reading – Incoming 8th Grade GATE Assignment

All incoming 8th Grade GATE students will complete a Summer Reading Assignment.  Students will choose a novel from the list below, complete four Reading Goal Activities from the menu on the back, as well as write a response to one of the essay prompts.

Summer Reading Assignments are due Wednesday, September 6th.

Typed assignments preferred.

Choose one of the following novels:

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Directions for Reading Goal Activities

  • Divide your novel into 4 equal sections and write down the pages for each section.  (e.g. Section 1—Pages 1-35, Section 2—Pages 36-75, etc.)
  • As you read each section of your novel, complete one Reading Goal Activity.  Be sure to choose one Reading Goal Activity from each column, to correspond to each section of your reading.  Each response should be one paragraph and should include text evidence, in the form of direct quotes from the novel.  (Include page numbers.)
  • Label each paragraph with the corresponding Reading Goal Activity number, e.g. 1.1, 3.2.
  • Typed responses preferred, double-spaced, 12-point font.

Essay Prompts

When you have finished reading your novel, respond to one of the essay prompts below.  Be sure to demonstrate your knowledge of the novel, by referencing the development of characters, setting, plot, and themes.  Include text evidence to support your ideas.  Directly quote from the novel and cite page numbers.  Use proper spelling and grammar.  Typed essays preferred—one page, double-spaced, 12-point font.

  • Write a letter to a character in the novel.  Include your reaction to the events in the novel, your feelings about the character’s choices, and what you think the character should do now.  Follow the format of a letter.
  • Retell a scene from the novel from the perspective of a different character.  Include detailed descriptions to show how the perspective is different and how it creates a shift in the story.
  • Explain the greatest challenge the main character faces in the novel.  Is this conflict internal or external?  (Does the character struggle with himself or with outside influences, or both?)

Menu of Reading Goal Activities

Section One

Pages __________

Section Two

Pages __________

Section Three

Pages __________

Section Four

Pages __________

Reading Goal Activities Reading Goal Activities Reading Goal Activities Reading Goal Activities
1.1 Make a list of at least three predictions for the novel—think about characters, setting, and genre.  As you read the first few chapters, explain whether your predictions were accurate. 2.1 List all of the characters in the novel so far.  Describe one of them, in detail, and explain their importance to the story. 3.1 Is there anything you understand better now, about the main character, than you did earlier in the novel? 4.1 Theme is the underlying message about a topic of a piece of text.  In detail, express what you think is the theme of this novel.
1.2 Write a list of at least five events that have happened so far.  Make a prediction or explain the conflict, or problem. 2.2 Make a list of three significant events in the story.  What caused each event?  What was the effect of each event?  How have they added to the plot? 3.2 Think about the relationship of the setting to the story.  Could this story have happened in another place?  Why or why not? 4.2 Style is the way an author writes a text.  How do you feel about the author’s style in this book?  Is it formal or informal?  Do you like the way the sentences sound?
1.3 The first few chapters of a novel often contain a detailed description of the setting.  Describe the setting and explain how it sets the scene for the novel. 2.3 Perspective greatly influences how a story is told.  Explain why the perspective used is effective in the novel.



3.3 Is the novel progressing as you thought it would?  Is the author telling a predictable tale, or are you kept in suspense? 4.3 Often, characters change as a result of events in a novel.  These are dynamic characters.  Describe the changes that a character went through in this novel.