7/8 Independent Reading Program

“The best way to prepare for high school is to be a middle school reader.” - Rebeccah Kilian, Director of Secondary School Counseling
“There's no lack of intelligence among young people, but they do have less experience focusing for longer periods of time and reading long-form text. Being able to read long-form text is crucial for understanding complex issues and developing critical thinking skills.” - Jean M. Twenge, PhD, author of the book iGen and professor of psychology at San Diego State University.

Building a Culture of Reading at Town School

Practice improves performance in sports, dance, music, math, and more. The same applies to reading! Kids will become more skillful at reading by simply reading more. And 7th and 8th grades are crucial years for cementing the habit of independent reading, but they are reading for pleasure less than ever before. At Town School, 8th graders use the library an average of 6 times less than they did when they were in 5th grade. Since independent reading correlates with academic achievement and self advocacy, reading is all the more important.

Will you join us in encouraging 7th and 8th graders to read? Below are reading events and opportunities the Town School Library has for 7/8 students.


Each vacation break, the Town School Library invites parents, teachers, and students to read books about or by people often underrepresented in books. Based on the We Need Diverse Books initiative, this challenge promotes the belief that many stories have been untold, and so it is time to represent all people in books. Students and teachers who complete the challenge will discuss their book choices over a special pizza and doughnut lunch after break!

Steps for students interested in completing a break reading challenge:

  1. Read or start reading a book during break about or by a person who is not often represented in books. A book might include (but is not limited to) "LGBTQIA, Native, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities” experiences (from We Need Diverse Books). Book ideas here.
  2. Complete a short review of the book using this form.
  3. Students have parents sign off that students read using this form.


"One of the single most important factors influencing a young person to grow up to be a person who reads independently and for pleasure is that they see an adult they care about reading for pleasure."
Jennifer Wolf, senior lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Education

The Parent Teen Book Club is a way for parents and students to connect with each other through reading. Parent and teens will discuss their book club books in order to learn each other's perspectives and open up dialogue around important issues, as well as form the habit of lifelong reading.

1. As a family, pick one of the books below to read. If you don't like the choices, pick your own!

2. Email library@townschool.com to notify the library that you are participating. Let us know the number of books you need, and we'll send home the books along with a book review to fill out when you are done. You'll periodically receive emails from the library checking in and answering any questions you have.

3. Turn in the books and review when you are done reading.

That's it! This is the simplest book club ever!

Potential Parent Teen Book Choices

(please read over reviews, which contain talking points)


Adults and students in grades 3 - 8 are encouraged to take the personal challenge to read 40 books in one year over a variety of genres. It isn’t as impossible as it seems! Print out the tracker to try.


Town is honored to host two distinguished author visits exclusively for our 7th and 8th graders.

    • Nov 5th - Stacey Lee - Chinese American author of historical fiction novels Outrun the Moon and Under A Painted Sky for 7th grade and up. She is also a member of the We Need Diverse Books campaign. http://www.staceyhlee.com/
    • May 13th - Elizabeth Acevedo - Afro-Dominican American performer and author of The Poet X. Her second book With the Fire on High will be released in May. http://www.acevedowrites.com/


October 9th - 12th is Teen Read Week, when libraries around the world encourage teens to become readers and library users. We celebrate during 6th - 8th lunch recess with games, giveaways, and of course, reading.

Teen Read Week 2018 - 2019