We believe that reading is an important part of each student’s development, and that books are incredible tools for introducing them to outside opinions, imaginative dreams, radical ideas, and complex issues. Even Treasure Island, with its pirates and buccaneering, can be related to the dilemma of Christians in today’s world, serve as a lesson for actions having consequences and show how those who are morally ambiguous ultimately lack ethical clarity.
As summer comes nearer, you and your young ones are probably already looking through the list we’ve provided of required and supplemental readings. While at least two books are required each summer and provided as part of your tuition and fees (and are available for pickup from the front office upon enrollment / re-enrollment), we believe that additional reading will only strengthen the minds of our students. To that end, we’ve provided additional recommendations that we think will greatly benefit the development of your child’s vocabulary, critical thinking, and biblical worldview.
For parents and children who are interested in additional reading, we’ve provided brief descriptions of a few of our favorites below the required reading list. These books are available for purchase at your local bookstore or through online retailers, so surprise your favorite bookworm with a few great adventures to dive into during the summer!
Each student will be required to read at least two books each summer while attending Westminster. All students read the same books in each grade, so in-depth classroom discussions can take place throughout the fall.
Grades 1-3: A written assignment is required for each book
Grades 4-12: An annotation is required for each book (a tutorial for how to annotate your books is available)
Entering 1st Grade
- Swimmy by Leo Lionni
- Little Bear by Maurice Sendak
Entering 2nd Grade
- Days With Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
- Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
Entering 3rd Grade
- Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
- The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh
Entering 4th Grade
- Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan
- The Sword in the Tree by Clyde Robert Bulla
Entering 5th Grade
- Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary
- Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Entering 6th Grade
- A Little Princess by Francis Hodgson Burnett
- Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Davis Wyss
Entering 7th Grade
- The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
- Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt
Entering 8th Grade
- Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard
- The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Entering 9th Grade
- Night by Elie Wiesel
- Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Entering 10th Grade
- Mythology by Edith Hamilton
- That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis
The designated summer reading books for students entering tenth grade honors are:
- Mythology by Edith Hamilton
- Iliad by Homer (trans. Fitzgerald)
Entering 11th Grade
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Crucible by Arthur Miller
The designated summer reading books for students entering eleventh grade honors class are:
- In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Phillbrick
- Billy Budd by Herman Melville
Entering 12th Grade
- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by the Pearl Poet (Tolkien translation only)
- The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
The designated summer reading books for students entering twelfth grade AP English are:
- Conte of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Good Reads for First Through Fifth Grade
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones is one of the recommended books for third grade. Many children's Bible story books emphasize major stories of the Bible and the lessons within them, but this one points out the connection between all of the stories of the Bible and offers a unique angle at taking a look at the "big picture."
The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White is one of the books recommended for fourth grade. "The Trumpet of the Swan" is a beautiful story of overcoming obstacles and adversity. A young swan, born without a voice, learns to play the trumpet like the great Louis Armstrong in an effort to impress a beautiful swan, Serena.
Anything from the Ramona Quimby series by Beverly Cleary is one of the recommended readings for fifth grade. There are several to choose from. Children of all ages love reading about Ramona because she's so relatable. Each book delves into Ramona's life, touching on teachers, habits of others and the quirky things Ramona likes to do.
Good Reads for Sixth Through Eighth Grade
Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorenson is one of the recommended books for sixth grade. This book offers a story based upon real people and events. It shows that experiencing new things and being in a new place can create a positive outcome in life—and that you can find happiness and peace in the most unlikely of places.
Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry is one of the recommended books for seventh grade. "Call it Courage" is an excellent story about overcoming fears. In this story, Mafatu overcomes his fear of the ocean after ending up on a neighboring island full of cannibals. During his time, he learns to hunt, fish and survive as he attempts to find a way to escape the island.
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne is one of the recommended books for eighth grade. Jules Verne had an uncanny ability to imagine life in the future, and this book offers readers a look at real-life and fictional encounters deep within the ocean.
Good Reads for Ninth Through Twelfth Grade
Never to Forget: The Jews of the Holocaust by Milton Meltzer is one of the recommended books for ninth grade. This book doesn't detail experiences of the Holocaust from the outside. This book takes a deep look in first-person at accounts of the Holocaust to learn what it was really like to experience this horrific time in history.
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown is one of the recommended books for tenth grade. This book emphasizes the struggles faced by Native Americans as they imagined what life would look like for them. The book touches on starvation, how the U.S. government interacted with Native Americans, retaining cultural identity and the need to adapt to a changing world.
Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall is one of the recommended books for eleventh grade. This story shows that when you set out to help someone, they can end up helping you in a much more profound way. This is evidenced by a couple who reach out to help a homeless man, but he returns much more than they could ever have imagined.
These are just a few of our favorites, but we know that any book selected for your grade level will be one that you’ll enjoy, and that will help further shape your child’s path to learning in the coming school year. Enjoy your summer, and get to reading!