Summer reading assignments are supposed to prepare students for the coming year, to prevent the dreaded summer loss, and — ideally — to foster a love of reading.

Yet all too often, students struggle with comprehension when they’re reading independently. Sometimes they just don’t do the reading at all.

We’ve got a new spin on how to assign summer reading that will boost students’ comprehension and create accountability — without creating more work for teachers.

This year, instead of just assigning the book and planning some kind of comprehension quiz afterward,  pair the book with one of our curated vocabulary lists based on the text. Have your students practice the list on Vocabulary.com before they read the book, and they’ll be in much better shape to tackle the reading on their own.

Plus, you can easily see who did the work, and how they did — no correcting papers! Even better, Vocabulary.com will automatically follow up with students  over time so they really learn the words they struggled with.

Here's how to seamlessly integrate vocabulary instruction into your summer reading plans:

1. Select assigned texts, or invite students to choose their own books. Whether you’re assigning a classic text or popular YA, we’ve got ready-made vocabulary lists for a wide variety of material to prep students for better reading. Have you considered letting students choose their own books? You could offer them a menu of titles that appeals to a range of interests and abilities (The list below would work well!).

2. Check out our high-quality, ready-made lists. Developed by seasoned educators, our lists are designed to align with your curriculum and to support independent reading. You can use the lists as they are, or copy and customize them.

3. Assign a Practice activity. When students practice the words on the list you assigned, they learn key vocabulary and preview the text before they tackle the reading. List Practice on Vocabulary.com also provides added accountability (without added work for you) when you can see at a glance which students completed their List Practice, and how well they did.

4. Leave the follow-up to us. Vocabulary.com automatically works with students until they master any words they struggled with.

Below, you'll find recommended summer reading, along with links to our curated vocabulary lists for each text. Bear in mind that these recommendations are just the tip of the iceberg. You can find more great resources on our Lists page, and we’re adding new lists every week.

 

High-interest Books

Track series by Jason Reynolds - Ghost, Patina, Sunny

Warcross by Marie Lu 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline 

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older 

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo 

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green 

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken 

Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed 

 

Recent Award Winners

National Book Award Winner: Far from the Tree by Robin Benway 

National Book Award Finalists:
Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia 

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez 

American Street by Ibi Zoboi 

Printz Award Winner: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour 

Printz Award Finalists:
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (also a Newbery Honor Book)

Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

 

Previous Award Winners

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (2015 Printz Award) 

Monster by Walter Dean Myers (2000 Printz Award) 

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (2016 Newbery Medal Winner)

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson (2017 Newbery Honor Book)

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (2014 National Book Award, 2015 Newbery Honor Book

 

Middle Grade Favorites

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate 

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander 

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan 

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper 

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt 

Holes by Louis Sachar 

The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder 

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia 

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown 

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman 

Esperanza Rising by Pamela Muñoz Ryan 

 

Popular Graphic Novels

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson 

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson 

Smile by Raina Telgemeir 

March by John Lewis 

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang 

El Deafo by Cece Bell 

 

Classics

A Separate Peace by John Knowles 

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle 

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery 

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster 

Hamlet by William Shakespeare 

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell 

Beloved by Toni Morrison 

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Animal Farm by George Orwell 

Lord of the Flies by William Golding 

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck 

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson 

 

Compelling Nonfiction

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser 

The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater 

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela 

Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich 

Outcasts United by Warren St. John 

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell 

 

Beloved Series

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling 

Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan 

The Giver by Lois Lowry 

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien 

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman 

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 

Divergent by Veronica Roth