Empowering students with language-based learning differences
The Siena School Blog
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Welcome to Siena's blog, your source for helpful, cutting-edge resources tailored to teachers, parents, and other advocates in the learning differences community. We are dedicated to providing a wealth of curated knowledge spanning various topics, ranging from dyslexia advocacy and awareness to classroom teaching strategies, heritage month profiles, and social and emotional health.
Winter Break Reading at Siena
Looking for book recommendations to support dyslexic readers heading into winter break? Let Siena’s elementary and middle school teams help.
With winter break approaching, it’s important for students—especially ones with language-based learning differences—to read for at least 20 minutes a day to keep their literacy, decoding, and related skills honed. Regular daily reading will help keep students engaged through winter break with a variety of enjoyable, teacher-recommended books, series, graphic novels, short story collections and more.
Elementary School Book Recommendations
Here are some of our elementary classes’ top book recommendations this year so far, as suggested by elementary teachers:
- City Spies by James Ponti
- Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith
- The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane by Julia Nobel
- The Greystone Secrets #1: The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix
- Flunked: Fairy Tale Reform School #1 by Jen Calonita
Elementary student Ania recommends Flunked: “I thought it was really interesting, and I liked that I never knew what was going to happen next.” Ania’s classmate Grayer really enjoyed Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab: “It was a good book. It was fun to read about the brother and sister making things with their uncle in his lab.”
Middle School Book Recommendations
Teachers from Siena’s middle school English and Reading teams recommend these books for readers in 6th to 8th grades:
- Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds
- City of Ember: The Graphic Novel by Jeanne DuPrau (Adapted by Dallas Middaugh)
- Warcross by Marie Lu
- The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
- You Should See Me In a Crown by Leah Johnson
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- Ungifted by Gordon Korman
- Scythe by Neil Shusterman
- Pumpkin Heads by Faith Erin Hicks
Resources for Book Recommendations
Education consultant Ann Dolin wrote about engaging reluctant readers over summer break, including a handful of recommendations for different ages and suggestions for reading as a family. Although winter break is shorter than summer, parents could adapt some of Dolin’s ideas for their students—such as starting a book series to pique their interest in the next few weeks.
Whether it’s over winter or summer break, giving students some control over the process of selecting books when they’re not in school can motivate them to read for at least 20 minutes a day.
Here are some additional resources to help students with summer reading:
- Fairfax County Public Library Teen Events and Resources and Montgomery County Public Library For Teens offer recommendations, events, programs, and more. Check public libraries in your area for similar summer reading services for young people.
- The National Education Association offers ample resources, activity ideas, and links for families to find diverse books.
- The New York Public Library’s Staff Picks for Teen Readers goes back to Spring 2019 and lists English- and Spanish-language books. The NYPL blog also has expert-curated lists of books and other materials for school-aged readers.
See Siena’s blog for winter break podcast recommendations, summer reading recommendations, and posts about authentic assessments at Siena and about a handful of Siena alumni who’ve returned as staff members.