I, Joy Kirr, am a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. My 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of my learning experiences... Want to have me speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is my PORTFOLIO.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Summer Reading - My Plans

I always want to read MORE. As much as I read over the summer, it's never ENOUGH.

This summer, I have a plan. (I don't usually!)

I'm going to read from two lists, for sure:

     Our SD25 Middle School Summer Reading list - "Reach for the Stars"
          (Kind of not fair, as I've read eight of the twelve already...)

     #ProjectLITBookClub 2019-2020 selections (Follow them on Twitter here!)

When I want something different, I'm either going to choose a book that is on a list of some sort, or an award-winning book - by authors who are not white. Yup. It's time for more diversity. It's time I truly focused on it this time, instead of just being "lucky" coming across a book by an author of color. That being said, I just received a book in the mail from a fellow white educator... I'll be reading that one, as well.

For my students, I shared with them (once again) this page on our classroom Weebly - it's got lots of ideas for summer reading!

Do you have a favorite resource for good books? What are your summer reading plans? Thanks for sharing and reading!

This post was a few weeks in the making. The inspiration to post it comes from this challenge:
This post is week 1 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators.

Post-Summer Update...
I have now read the following books (some I read years ago) from the #ProjectLitBookClub lists (going across in order):
     A Long Walk to Water
     Amina's Voice
     The Bridge Home
     A Good Kind of Trouble
     Other Words for Home
     Merci Suarez Changes Gears
     First Rule of Punk
     Front Desk
     The Parker Inheritance
     The Last Last Day of Summer (abandoned)
     Amal Unbound
     The Benefits of Being an Octopus
     Ghost Boys
     Time Bomb
     New Kid
     Full Cicada Moon
     Look Both Ways
     Ghost (the entire series)
     The Wild Robot
     The Stars Beneath Our Feet
     El Deafo
     A Very Large Expanse of Sea
     Hey, Kiddo
     The Marrow Thieves (abandoned)
     The Prince and the Dressmaker


  1. This summer I have already read two Project LIT books--Monster by Walter Dean Myers and The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater. I have also read one "teacher book" which is Hacking Project Based Learning by Erin Murphy and Ross Cooper. I would love to read more things, but I'm reviewing English textbooks for my state's DOE and reworking my curriculum for the four classes that I'm teaching next year. Of course, that involves reading too, but I need time to think through everything, so, unfortunately, I won't be doing as much pleasure reading this summer as I'd like.

    1. Hi, Mike! I remember reading MONSTER a long time ago, but it's probably time to revisit it. I tried THE 57 BUS and couldn't get past page 35. I should probably go back to that one now that I have been able to say "they" in actual practice at school... Good luck with your curriculum this summer. May your thinking cap be working at its strongest so you don't have to spend TOO much time on it all! Enjoy!

  2. Hi Joy -- I've got so many books to read; my kindle is overflowing! I'm spending time in art illustration books and mysteries, two of my passions that would also be of value to my teaching. I've got "A Guide to Documenting Learning" by Silvia Tolisano and Janet Hale opened and I'd also like to read David Geurin's "Future Driven: Will Your Students Thrive in an Unpredictable World?" I'm glad we're accepting the challenge of #8weeksofsummer !

  3. And you inspired my post for the challenge: follow your passions as a teacher too! http://whatelse.edublogs.org/2019/06/14/8weeksofsummer-goals/

  4. There are a lot of good ones on the Project LIT lists. Obviously I've liked some better than others, but I think everyone I have read has been good. There are also several there that are on my pile for the summer. Before your comment on my review, I was going to recommend New Kid by Jerry Craft after I saw your reading goals, but now I know you've read that one too.

  5. This challenge was a great idea :)

  6. Hi Joy,
    Great idea to choose from authors of color. So many perspectives for us to learn from. All the best to you. I have a lot of professional books to read, but I will certainly be taking time to read ones that touch my soul as well. I'm going to read Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson and Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams.

    Have a great, relaxing, and joyful summer full of good books,

  7. Hi Joy,
    THis is an awesome list, well lists of lists. I am really admiring your plan for the summer!
    If you had more time, but who are we kidding, there is never enough time, I would also recommend TOME Society's It List. There may be some overlap, but there lists are always so great it would just be good reinforcement!

    Thank you for joining the #8weeksofsummer blogging challenge!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Penny! I've got the list in front of me now, and seeing which ones I need to add to my "to read" list! ;D