COVINGTON - Assuming, of course, that they have already begun, Newton County School System students have less than a week to finish their summer reading, with the new school year slated to begin Aug. 1.
If a student doesn't have a reading list and the requirements, copies are available at the Newton County Library and on the NCSS Web site, www.newtoncountyschools.org.
According to the lists provided by NCSS, rising sixth- through 12th-grade students must read at least one book, and some may have to write a book report or complete an assignment sheet or test by the first week of school.
Students heading into sixth, seventh and eighth grades who are participating in a general English class are instructed to read one book from their appropriate grade-level list.
"They must be prepared to complete an assignment given by the language arts teacher the first week of school," read the requirements. "Two additional books and assignments may be completed for extra credit."
Sixth-graders have 14 books to choose from including "Slave Dancer" by Paula Fox and "Sounder" by William H. Armstrong; seventh-grade students can choose from a list of 13 books, including "The People Could Fly" by Virginia Hamilton and "Soldier's Heart" by Gary Paulsen; and eighth-graders are allowed to choose from 14 books, including "The Lottery Rose" by Irene Hunt and "Savannah" by Eugenia Price.
Middle school students also may choose any novels on the QUEST summer reading list, a Newbery Award winner or Newbery Honor book from the last 10 years or a Coretta Scott Kind award-winning novel from the last 10 years.
QUEST middle school students must read at least two books from their assigned grade-level lists and also be prepared to complete an assignment the first week of school in their language arts classes.
"If three books are read, extra credit will be awarded for the third book and completed assignment," the requirements read.
Sixth-grade QUEST books include "Flush" by Carl Hiaasen and "My Brother Sam is Dead" by James Lincoln Collier, among 26 other books; QUEST students in seventh-grade students can choose from "Black Pearl" by Scott O'Dell and "Sounder" by William H. Armstrong or 27 others; and eighth-grade QUEST students can read "Across Five Aprils" by Irene Hunt, "The Great Fire" by Jim Murphy or 27 others.
High school ninth- through 12th-grade students not in QUEST or advanced courses are given a list of 10 or 11 books per grade level to read.
Ninth-grade selections include "Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson; 10th-grade selections include "Cold Sassy Tree" by Olive Ann Burns; 11th-graders can read "The Hunt for Red October" by Tom Clancy;"and 12th-grade students have choices including "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien.
Students who will be in a ninth-grade QUEST class can choose one book between "Ethan Frome" by Edith Wharton, "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding or five others and keep a reader's response log on 10 questions. Afterward, students must complete a written assignment.
Rising 10th-grade students in a QUEST or advanced American literature and composition class must read "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee and complete an assignment sheet, a vocabulary assignment and may have to complete a separate test during the first week of class.
Students who will be in a 12th-grade advanced placement literature and composition class must read "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin and complete an assignment sheet and also may have a test on the novel during the first week of class.
Elementary school students aren't required to read books over the summer, but school systems officials developed lists for each grade level in case they want to do so.
"The elementary summer reading list is simply a suggested list for parents who want to continue reading with their child throughout the summer," said Kenneth Proctor, elementary curriculum director for NCSS.
First-grade books include "Chicken Little," "Curious George," and "Little Red Riding Hood;" second-grade books include "Hansel and Gretel" and "Rapunzel;" third-grade books include "Because of Winn Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo and "The Secret Garden" by F.H. Burnett; fourth-grade books include "Freaky Friday" by Mary Rodgers and "Hardy Boys" or "Nancy Drew;" and fifth-grade books include "Old Yeller" by Frederick Gipson and "The Whipping Boy" by Sid Fleischman.
Carol Durusau, children services manager at the Newton County Library, said it appears that summer reading participation is up for children at all age levels this summer, even if the books aren't on the summer reading lists.
"Since gas prices are getting higher, people aren't traveling as much," she said. "We've had such big demands for school summer reading books that we've been having trouble keeping up with the demand. ... We've had a lot of holds."
She said as the summer comes to a close, the library has received more books that were once on back order.
Even those who haven't started their summer reading yet or want to get another book to read before the school year begins, Durusau said they have time.
"Many of the books on the reading lists aren't that long - most are between 150 to 200 pages," she said. "Those you can read within a week easily."
Michelle Floyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SideBar: At a glance
· "Bridge to Terabithia" by Katherine Patterson
· "The Black Pearl" by Scott O'Dell
· "Adam of the Road" by Elizabeth Janet Gray and Robert Lawson
· "Face on the Milk Carton" by Caroline B. Cooney
· "Phoenix Rising" by Karen Hesse
· "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" by Mark Twain
· "Bless Me, Ultima" by Rudolfo Anaya
· "The Outsiders" by Susan E. Hinton
· "The Road to Memphis" by Mildred D. Taylor
· "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien
· "The Secret Adversary" by Agatha Christie
· "Anthem" by Ayn Rand
· "Daisy Miller" by Henry James
· "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd
· "The Piano Lesson" by August Wilson
· "The Hunt for Red October" by Tom Clancy
· "A Gathering of Old Men" by Ernest J. Gaines
· "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand
· "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte
· "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin
· "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley
Students in QUEST and Advanced Placement courses have different requirements. A full list is available at the Newton County Library and on the Newton County School System Web site, www.newtoncountyschools.org.
- Source: Newton County School System