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Middle School Success Series: Reading

Are You Ready for High School?

The change from Middle School to High School can often be a jarring one. The increased academic rigor, shift in social dynamics, and general mentality of “everything you do actually matters now” can create a lot of pressure for students who are moving into their Freshmen year.  While the shift itself is an unavoidable one, there are many ways to start preparing now in order to minimize the adjustment and equip yourself for success.

We’ll be exploring these ways to prepare in our 3-part Middle School Success Series. We’ll kick things off today with reading.


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You should aim to read 30-60 minutes a day in addition to your regular academic reading.

High school will dramatically increase the volume and range of what you will be expected to read.  These include:

  • Dry, formal, historical reading (World History, US History)
  • Terminology and jargon heavy science and humanities reading (Biology, Economics)
  • Fiction that is complex in terms of language and structure (Shakespeare, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Kafka’s The Trial)
  • Information heavy reading from research and journals (Science, Humanities)
  • Rhetoric heavy reading such as op-eds and speeches (Humanities)


What this means is that students can begin preparing by diversifying their reading to include these styles of writing. Some simple ways to do this:

  • Grab a textbook – High school science and humanities courses use widely available textbooks as their core reading and are usually listed on high school course registration catalogs. Practice summarizing and taking notes.
  • Grab a 9th grade reading list – Most schools will list potential texts that will be covered in a 9th grade English class. Get a head start. Keep a vocabulary list. The ambitious student can practice writing book reports as well.
  • Grab College Board’s reading list – For the advanced reader, College Board compiled a list of 101 books they recommend students to have read before college. That list is available here.
  • Grab the news – Formal, informative writing is an essential part of high school. Reading the news can also lead to interesting family dinner conversations and help students develop their confidence in group discussion. In a world of “fake news”, this can also be useful to help students develop a mindset of being critical of what they are reading. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times are recommended sources here.
  • Stay accountable and are both excellent websites that can track student progress and have customized reading levels that correlate with Common Core measurements.


Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of our Middle School Success Series and updates on our academic classes and tutoring services posted regularly right here on our blog!