So you can’t go to school…

by Vielka

Each summer, we publish enrichment for our clients so that they do not get behind in the learning, can actually move ahead, and so that we can preview some of the things they will need to know for college admissions that they likely will not receive.

In light of the recent happenings with the global pandemic, we have decided to release this curriculum early and make it publicly available.  For those of us on the VHC team who are parents, we can understand the anxiety that comes with having to essentially homeschool young people without notice, especially at a time of year that is critical for their learning.  We are hoping this series addresses most of these concerns.

While we are hoping this curricula can stand on its own, if you are a VHC client, please feel free to work on this with your tutor.  For everyone else, you can also become a client or you can work on this alone, with young people in your neighborhood (if you are not in self-quarantine), and with a teacher or tutor who is also staying home.

Stay healthy and as always, let us know if you have questions.

Vielka and the VHC Team

VHC Spring/Summer Reading List 2020

Reading outside of what you are assigned in your classes is essential for a number of reasons:

  • You learn to love reading because you want to, not because you have to.
  • You can work on language skills in more in-depth ways.
  • You learn to interpret people’s words in a variety of contexts. 

There are also a lot of curricular tangibles that come with reading at home:

  • There are a lot of items in your regular coursework that cannot be mastered without reading on your own.
  • There are quite a few sections on the SAT that cannot be taught in a short period of time as they assume you are reading on your own.

And in most college applications, you will find a question about something you’ve read recently and you need to have a legitimate answer.  🙂

The list that we’ve put together includes books that you will likely read in the following academic year, books that are new and you might enjoy, and books that help you to work on your interpretative skills.  And we’ve read them all; they are really good books.

We recommend that you select one book from each category to start with first. If you can, we recommend that you use one of the books as a family read.  

For clients, let us know what you have selected as we will provide these for you, if you like.

Happy reading!

Middle School9th10th11th12th
Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, Mary RoachThing Explainer, Randall Munroe

This Mortal Coil (series), Emily Suvada
Why Buildings Fall Down: How Structures Fail, Mario Levy, Salvadori Matthys

Ready Player One: A Novel, Ernest Cline
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
Social Science Themes
Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe

The Complete Maus, Art Spiegelman

Obasan, Joy Kogawa

The Bonesetter’s Daughter, Amy Tan
Twelve Years a Slave, Solomon Northup

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass

Hamilton: The Revolution, Lin-Manuel Miranda
The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros

Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquivel

Between the World and Me, Ta-nehisi Coates
The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander

The Thirteen American Arguments: Enduring Debates that Define and Inspire Our Country, Howard Fineman

Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich

Freakanomics, Steven Levitt
LiteratureI Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, Erika L Sanchez

Oedipus Rex, Sophocles

A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams

The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives, Dashka Slater

Animal Farm, George Orwell

Sophie’s World, Jostein Gaarder

Zeitoun, Dave Eggers
1984, George Orwell

Nickel Boys: A Novel, Colson Whitehead

Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Rain of Gold, Victor Villasenor

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz

The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

Beloved, Toni Morrison

Bless Me, Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya

Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabrial Garcia Marquez

The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Milan Kundera
MemoirAnne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, Sherman Alexie
The Complete Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Child Soldier, Ishmael Beah
The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The Yellow House, Sarah Broom
Heavy: An American Memoir, Kiese Laymon

Educated: A Memoir, Tara Westover

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