This product is designed to provide students with a meaningful and authentic summer reading experience. Using the activities and tasks provided, students will return to school with a deeper understanding of their summer reading book(s), and they will be more prepared to engage related assignments at the start of the school year. Finally, the packet can be implemented for ANY summer reading text you select.
From my experience, there is more than one way you can utilize this packet. Ideally, the handouts in the packet will build toward a summer reading essay assessment that can be assigned before summer vacation or perhaps more appropriately, upon return to school. You can provide students with all or some of the graphic organizers to complete over the summer and then bring along during the first week of school. Then, you can assign the essay and review some of these critical concepts related to character using the PowerPoint presentation. You can also assign the essay and outlines prior to summer vacation. Additionally, depending on the extent of your summer reading assessment, the packet includes both one-paragraph essay maps and five-paragraph essay outline(s). Sometimes, I find students even in middle school benefit from some practice perfecting their one-paragraph essay writing prior to tackling the five-paragraph essay. All in all, how you use this product is your choice in order to best meet your instructional needs.
I do want to ensure clarity – it is not expected nor required to utilize each handout enclosed in this packet. Please create a combination of resources that you deem most fitting for yourself and your students’ needs. Essay prompts are provided though the packet is fully applicable to nearly any topic or assessment for summer reading.
INCLUDED IN THIS PACKET:
1. Character Trait Resource List: I included this resource to send home with students to assist them when completing their graphic organizers related to character. It will also come in handy throughout the school year.
2. Character Sketch Thinking Map: This thinking map is designed to capture students’ brainstorms and begin the ‘sketch’ of the character from their summer reading book. The map delineates the topic for each thought bubble in order to align with some of the outlines and the provided essay prompt. Two gender-specific versions of this thinking map are included so students can use the one that matches the gender of their protagonist.
3. Getting to Know Character: This resource reviews critical concepts related to character development and simultaneously questions students about those concepts in a step-by-step, organized format. This handout is one I highly suggest assigning over the summer due to the embedded review. Then the concepts can be reinforced in greater detail using the PowerPoint.
4. Character Analysis Chart: Use this chart to assist students with the process of identifying important information about character and immediately locating evidence from the text to support their points. The chart mimics the expectations of any well-developed paragraph/essay given the columns for Point, Proof, and Explanation. I love using this chart for nearly any reading and writing task throughout the school year.
5. Instacharacter Activity: I included this activity as something extra engaging and relatable for students as they hone their skills with character analysis upon return from summer vacation. Students are asked to think, draw, and analyze. Colored pencils optional.
6. PowerPoint: Use this PowerPoint to prepare students for writing an essay about literature, namely the first assignment for summer reading. The PowerPoint reviews significant concepts related to character and character development. I use this PowerPoint to introduce my first unit, entitled “Character, Conflict, Change”.
7. Essay Assignment: Here is a sample of the essay assignment I assign for summer reading. Two versions are included: a one-paragraph or five-paragraph essay. As listed below, the graphic organizers/outlines in this packet specifically prepare students for the type of thinking and writing expected for this prompt.
8. Essay Rubric: I included a copy of my literary writing rubric to align with the essay assignment above.
9. One-Paragraph Essay Outline: This outline enables students to ensure they write a fully-developed one-paragraph essay in response to the prompt provided. Two versions are included to match the two different options for approaching the essay prompt.
10. Five-Paragraph Essay Outline: This outline provides a clear organization for a fully-developed five-paragraph essay in response to the prompt provided. Two versions are included to match the two different options for approaching the essay prompt. Students can write directly on the outline, or like many of my students, they typed their outline using the provided handout as a guide.
11. Generic Five-Paragraph Essay Outline/Organizer: This resource serves any five-paragraph (literary) essay and does not delineate specifics for the summer reading prompt included in this packet. This is also a great tool to use throughout the school year.
12. Five-Paragraph Essay Graphic Organizer: Here is a five-paragraph essay graphic organizer broken into the five different parts of the essay. Each page contains reminders and helpful tools when constructing each paragraph. I also recommend using this resource throughout the school year.