May 30, 2009

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students:

Now that the end of the school year is almost upon us, it is time, once again, to reintroduce the West Islip Public School’s English Language Arts Summer Reading Program. The goal of the program, now in its tenth year, is to encourage students to develop a love of reading, an activity that can bring them ongoing satisfaction and fulfillment, and a skill that will serve them throughout their personal and professional lives. For the past four years, we have celebrated students’ accomplishments by organizing a district-wide Book Share Day that takes place at the end of September. On that day, students share with their teachers and peers, their responses to the literature they read, through illustrations, journal entries, summaries, reviews, class discussions, and other intriguing activities, sometimes using costumes or props. Book Share Day activities, which inspired an active exchange of ideas and information, motivated many students to explore new titles.

In order to capitalize on the successes of last summer’s program, we will continue to offer our elementary school students an opportunity to choose the books they read so that they may experience the joys of discovering a favorite book. Middle school students, (those entering grades 6-8), will be asked to read two books; one title, which will be assigned and distributed by teachers, serves as a supplement to the middle schools’ Bullying Program. The second title may be chosen independently so that students have an opportunity to discover authors and genres that arouse their interest. Students entering grades 9 through 12 are assigned two titles of their choice. Only students in upper level classes (10H, 11H, 11AP, 12H, 12AP, SUPA) will be required to complete specific reading and writing assignments during the summer as outlined on the attached sheet. These activities are an integral part of the rigorous curriculum students will be following in the upcoming school year. Special instructions will be given by the Advanced Placement and Honors teachers at the high school before the end of this school year to guide students’ summer explorations. (All late entrants to these classes will be expected to complete these assignments in a timely fashion.)

Once again, we are providing an annotated Suggested Reading List, containing titles that might be of interest to students. However, students are free to choose any title. They are not limited to the titles provided on the Suggested Reading List. Our Library Media Specialists and local public librarians are eager to share their knowledge of children’s and young adult literature and will be able to help tailor selections to meet students’ needs and interests. In addition, we are providing links to websites that offer annotated entries that may help parents and students make appropriate choices.

Upon their return in September, students will receive a brief writing assignment from their teachers, outlined on the attached sheet, which will require them to illustrate something from the story they read (K-3), produce some type of written response, or participate in some other assessment activity. Students will receive guidance from our classroom teachers to ensure that they are well prepared for Book Share activities and/or assessments. At the end of September, all West Islip schools will participate in our fifth annual Book Share Day. Hopefully, this day of sharing literary experiences will create interest and excitement, making reading a more enticing activity throughout the year.

All information concerning our English Language Arts Summer Reading Program may be accessed on the Internet through the links at the right. If you have any further questions about our program, please contact me via telephone at 504-5805 or via email at k.appollo@wi.k12.ny.us .

Thank you for your continued support of our Language Arts Program. Together, I am confident that we can foster a love of reading, which is a vehicle to the future success of our students. Have a healthy and happy summer! May all your adventures in reading be fulfilling!

Sincerely yours,
Karen Appollo
Director of English and Language Arts, K-12

Websites for Summer Reading Choices

• From the International Reading Association Annotated list of Young Adult Choices

• From The Young Adult Library Services Association
Annotated lists of Best Books for Young Adults for the past several years

• Reading Rants, a website featuring out of the ordinary booklists for teens, has become a popular book review source for teenagers as well as their grown-ups.

• Booklists for Young Adults on the Web - This index was compiled from the many YA-related web pages created by librarians, educators and others serving young adults.

Students and their parents can use the high school library catalog (Destiny) to find summaries, reviews and, often, excerpts from the first chapter of the book.
From the West Islip District home page, click on the word DESTINY or the lion icon. Click “yes” to the security alert. Then, from the list of schools, choose the high school. Once on the home page of DESTINY, click on the catalog tab. Type a title or author into the search tab. Click on details, then click on the picture of the book. The next page should display the available summaries and reviews.

The West Islip Public Library has a similar option in their catalog.


Click here for the Suggested Reading Lists and Activities for students ...

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