Summer Assignments

All Students must complete a Summer Reading Assignment, which will be due on the first day of classes in the fall. For additional reading suggestions for students, see our recommended reading list.

Lower School

Lower School students must read all of the books listed for their respective grade before the first day of school. Much of the first few days of classes will be devoted to group discussions, presentations, in-class writing assignments, and games based on the summer reading books. No book reports or essays need to be written before school begins, although the student may be asked to answer a few guiding questions on each book. It is very fruitful for parents to read the books with their sons (aloud together or separately).

Grade 3: Mr. Houde

    1. American Tall Tales by Adrien Stoutenburg

    2. Any one selection from the Classic Starts series of books (and prepared oral presentation summarizing the story)

    3. Memorize The Eagle by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Produce a drawing and brief description for each of the two books and the poem in an authentic leather journal.

Grade 4: Mr. Golden

    1. Homer Price by Robert MCloskey

    2. Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

The first week or so of literature class will involve discussions of the summer reading.

The two books listed above are the only required summer reading books, but if time allows I suggest that your son also chooses a story from the list of recommended books for Sparhawk 4th graders. Here is a link to the list.

You are welcome to read the books aloud to your son, or he is welcome to read them on his own.  If you do read aloud to him, I would suggest that you have your son generally follow the words on the pages as you read, as well as to have him take turns reading passages, providing him with as much assistance as needed. 

Grade 5: Mr. McDonald

    1. The Bronze Bow, by Elizabeth George Speare

    2. John Treegate’s Musket, by Leonard Wibberley

These assignments are not meant to be a form of summer school, but rather to keep your son’s mind alive during summertime.

To encourage him to read the books, however, your son should be prepared on the first day of school in September 2022 to take a short quiz on each book. The quizzes are pass/fail. Anyone who fails will be given another opportunity to pass.

Here are some things your son should know about each book:

    • The title
    • The main character
    • Other major characters
    • The time period of the action
    • Where the action takes place
    • A basic idea of what happens in the beginning, middle, and end

The quizzes are not intended to be hard.  Your son should not feel the need to study minor details.  For each book, if he reads the book, he should do fine.

Middle School

All Middle School students will be expected to read one or two books and complete a writing assignment. In addition to demonstrated knowledge of the story, students will be graded on proper spelling, punctuation, logic, and style according to their respective grade levels.

Grade 6: Mr. Janeiro

    1. The Magician’s Nephew, by C. S. Lewis, 

    2. Read one book from the following list:

    • The Chestry Oak, by Kate Seredy

    • Redwall, by Brian Jacques

    • Shackleton’s Stowaway, by Victoria McKernan

After reading The Magician’s Nephew and one of the other books, your son should write a thoughtful response for each book. This response can be written or typed, should be at least three paragraphs but no longer than one page, and should answer the prompts below:

    • Did you enjoy the book? Why or why not?

    • What did you think of the characters? What did you like or dislike about the character(s)?

    • Reflect upon major themes (main ideas) of the story. What do you think the book was about? Adventure? Courage? Mercy? Was the author trying to say something in this book?

In addition to the two written/typed responses, to help your son exercise his imagination, I ask that he make one drawing per book.  The drawings can be anything related to the story, eg. a character, a map, or a scene.  If your son prefers to work his imagination in another way, perhaps through painting or crafting something, I am also open to such alternatives. 

Grade 7: Mr. Keefe

    1. Memorize the Gettysburg Address. Be prepared to recite the speech by the first day of school.

    2. Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt. Read the book thoroughly and be prepared to take a test on the book during the first few days of class.

    3. Read one book from the following list:

      • Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Bunker Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

      • Holes by Louis Sachar

      • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

      • The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

      • The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff

For the book you select, write an essay of 2-3 pages which addresses the prompt below:

“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

– Edmund Burke, Irish Philosopher

Successful leaders are proactive – they make shrewd decisions and exhibit behavior which causes something good to happen. They are not passive players in the game of life; instead, they use their freedom and agency for the benefit of others.

Pick one character from the book and describe three or more actions which the character takes to improve the lives of those around them. Describe the character, the actions taken, and the outcome of these actions. 

Be sure to use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Please type your essay if possible. The best essays will cite direct quotes from the text using quotations and page numbers, for example: (Sachar, 25-6).

Grade 8: Mr. Mahoney

    1. Memorize The Shield of Achilles, by W.H. Auden

    2. The Trojan War, by Olivia Coolidge 

Write a short essay of 3-5 pages, addressing the following question:  

Who do you think is the most heroic character in the Trojan War (or in the surrounding stories that Coolidge recounts)? Why? 

Make sure that you include your own consideration of what it really means to be a hero, and make sure you justify your character choice with an account of his virtues/personality, as well as all the ways he acted in and/or influenced the war. Do not forget to cite the text using quotations and page numbers, e.g. (Coolidge, 25-6).