Upper School Incorporates Independent Reading Program

This year, Indian Creek is moving to a 7-12 model of independent reading in which students are expected to read a minimum of three books of their choice during this school year, and students will have the opportunity to discuss these books in Advisory. There will also be a book club option for students who want to discuss books together. This model encourages students to read independently and for pleasure whether or not their English course is currently meeting.
 
Why is independent reading important?
The “Statement on Independent Reading” by the National Council of Teachers of English explains: “Research supports that independent reading has the most significant impact on student success in reading. […] The more one reads, the better one reads.” This is because by reading more, students learn new words and concepts, increase their comprehension, and develop the ability to sustain the focus required to understand more challenging texts. Additionally, independent reading is a great way for students to explore new topics, learn about different cultures and experiences, and even learn more about themselves.
 
What are the independent reading expectations this year for seventh through twelfth grade students?
Students are expected to read at least three books for pleasure during this school year. Each book should be at least 100 pages. Fiction, nonfiction, audiobooks, graphic novels, eBooks, and paper books are all encouraged. Students should finish one book by the end of Module 3 (before winter break), one book by the end of Module 5, and one book by the end of Module 7 (the end of the year). They will give a brief book talk in Advisory about their book.
What are the book club options?
Students can read any book of their choosing, but for students who prefer to talk about books in community, there will be two book club options for each session. If students choose one of these two books, they will have time to meet virtually to talk about them with other students and teachers. For this fall, the two books are Dread Nation by Justina Ireland and Dry by Neal Shusterman. Dread Nation is a historical fantasy that explores what would have happened after the Civil War if the dead had risen as zombies. Dry is speculative realistic fiction that explores what might happen if California ran out of water. Both books are appropriate for some seventh through twelfth grade students, but concerned families are encouraged to check Common Sense Media to see whether this book would be a good fit for their child.
 
What if my child has questions or needs recommendations?
For recommendations, students are encouraged to ask their friends or teachers, read another book from the summer reading list, look at “best-of” lists in genres they enjoy, or read another book by an author that they enjoy. For questions, students can contact their English teacher or Head of Upper School Matt McCormick.
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